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Christmas and family issues

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by karinabrown, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank You so much for this thoughtful and supportive reply Lainey. You are spot on, especially regarding the shouldering of things that are not mine to bear. I need to have a quiet chat with my inner rescuer on that front. I shall take your excellent advice to heart and will revel (I do like that word) in the bounty.

    My dad is a gem. I know how lucky I am to have him.

    Bless you sweetheart x

    Edit: I realised a few days ago how I was repeating a family pattern. My mum assumed the emotional burden of her mother when her dad died young. Later my Mum would go on to become her mother's literal carer. I always swore I would never be a carer (hmm) and here I am both a carer and vicarious carer of someone else's mum.

    Am I not mockery's favourite child? :(

    Ah well. To that I say this :mooning:
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
    Lainey likes this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I appreciate your dogged devotion to the essence of Sarno's teachings. I'll admit to being a slow learner but once the penny drops, it drops good. Thanks for flying the flag with such passion. That list of food has made me hungry :)

    Maybe one day psychologists will have their day in the sun and will be able to *prove* the good doctor right. But I shan't hold my breath. In the same way as God can't be seen at the end of a telescope, the soul will never truly be found in a test tube.
    Ellen likes this.
  3. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    plum : on chrismas evening when glases will be raised and good wishes are spoken : somewhere in europe ; in the Netherlands
    will think about those words...cheers to you!
    Time2be and plum like this.
  4. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Over 30 years ago I recall a different holiday, going to visit the in-laws with my husband and four month old first-born. At the time I was in the throes of severe postnatal depression but had not yet been diagnosed. The day before the holiday dinner, I was in the middle of stuffing a chicken in MIL's kitchen. My sister-in-law's toddler was near our baby and both myself and husband were concerned he'd accidentally hurt her. He said something to his sister about it. I chimed in, not rudely, but the response to me was "OH SHUT UP, YOU MOODY BITCH! MIL admonished SIL. SIL retorted "Well, it's about time SOMEONE told her!" For so long I regretted that I had not lifted that large, raw chicken, dripping with bacteria and flung it at SIL. I just stood, dumbstruck while MIL burst into tears and everyone rushed to fuss over her. I couldn't get over how that woman could manipulate a situation to the point where she was the victim. She was to do this repeatedly throughout our marriage.

    The following evening there was a big gathering of friends and family for the holiday dinner. I was still reeling from the incident and stayed upstairs the entire time. My SIL apparently apologised to my husband and all was well. From what I could hear, everyone was having a fabulous time while I was upstairs crying and going hungry.

    SIL did apologise eventually, after nearly a year had passed. It was one of those apologies where the person says "I'm sorry but ....and then spews out a whole load of bullshit to justify their actions, thus completely negating the apology. The rift that incident caused was immense. The relationship with all my in-laws was from then on, poor at best.

    For those who read my recent thread, my daughter had a car accident in 2013 and was in hospital for months. My SIL came to stay a few times - something she had only done twice before in all those years. She helped at the hospital and kept us sane. She was a great support, particularly in view of my own sister never lifting the phone or emailing me or sending my daughter a get well card! Families, eh?

    Now that my husband is my EX, my in-laws have been touchingly supportive. My MIL invited me to ring her whenever I wanted to talk and visit if I wished. I would always be welcome. I would always be her DIL, no matter what. My SIL sent me a card expressing the very same. If I needed anything, I just had to ask. I was bowled over by this. I wasn't expecting this reaction at all. I had been thinking for a while that I would like to write to my SIL and tell her how much I appreciated her support during that horrific time but when my EX announced he was dumping me, I didn't feel it was appropriate to do this. However, I think I will write that letter after all. It will finally put a line under that incident 30 years ago that plagued me for more years than I'd like to admit.

    As for this Christmas, as my two daughters don't get on with each other (history repeating itself) I'm having the elder overnight at Christmas (she asked first). The younger one is coming later in the week for her own sleepover. She grumbled but I made it quite clear there was plenty of room for both to stay. I was refusing to have them both at the same time on the basis that I could not tolerate an atmosphere of hatred and resentment, not anymore, not after the last few years. She understood when I put it in those terms.
    karinabrown and plum like this.
  5. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    First of all, it's nice to have you here and sounding on such good form. I know you've been through hell and back and I pray the holidays afford you some peace, compromises accepted.

    Second, it is reassuring to hear other people go through the same nonsense. Every family has it's drama queen! But dear God does that sh*t wear thin fast. I'm heartened to hear that the conflict has resolved for you. Time truly is a great healer.

    Himself and I have transformed not only our relationship but for the most part, those of our nearest and dearest too. Some though are too sticky, too stuck for any real evolution. What can anyone do but regroup, let it go and move on.

    Plum x
  6. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Ahhh Plum
    So many of us TMS'rrrs want to shoulder burdens that are too heavy to carry alone. It is so easy for us to fall into the 'giving' role. Interestingly it was my later in life journey to become a licensed psychological clinician that enabled me to begin releasing this personal mandate I held to "help others" and (a BIG AND) own the others problem as my own. A personal circumstance that is actually not unusual in this field of work. Becoming a counselor cured me of this, but my life of prior choices still left me with a myriad of negative messages and scenarios with others, (mostly family) that I have been working through in my later years. I still resonate with the concerns of others but at least now, I do not own them as my own.
    Anyway, try to enjoy your holiday and I hope all that visit this string have a good holiday too.
    Time2be and plum like this.
  7. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Dear yb44

    You have endured much stress for so many years. My own tale, involves my brother, older by five years, who was hot and cold to me from the time I was a wee babe. He was hot/cold to others as well, but I adored him, yet grew terrified of his brutality towards me. Even as an adult he was on again, off again towards me. All I wanted was his friendship and approval. Well, to make a very, very long story short, our relationship continued to deteriorate until he no longer spoke to me for an 'imagined' slight he believed I predicated. He did not speak to me for over 20 years although I reached out many, many times. He died last year and thus there are no further avenues to travel in order to make peace.

    Yes indeed, families are convoluted and difficult. I appreciate your idea of sending your SIL a letter. Sometimes letters work for good, sometimes they fall flat. I hope your letter to the SIL is the former, and may your efforts with your daughters open the door for less hatred and resentment between the two girls. Good for you setting the clear boundaries for them, they have work to do.

    Time2be and plum like this.
  8. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    'Tis the season to examine and shore up boundaries. Also, to remind myself that I am not responsible for how anyone else feels, nor is anyone else responsible for how I feel. I am enjoying the holiday season (and life in general) so much more now that I'm clear on these things.
    Time2be, plum and Tennis Tom like this.
  9. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    So, everyone here has their particular Christmas challenge. In my case at least, it is also my TMS challenge: setting boundaries, especially to my parents. I will work on keeping boundaries when I am there. It I simply can’t tell them now that I will not come. For a month they talk about how happy they are that I am coming. But I see the points Karinabrown and Lainely make. My patience is sometimes my worst enemy. I am may be also a bit afraid to be alone , though I could go to friends on some days. And I have to look the Holmes-Rahe scale up. The quotation seems to talk about me, I do very often no think of my wellbeing first. It’s second or third. Gives me a lot of food for thought this thread! Thanks!
    plum likes this.
  10. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi Ellen,

    You made an excellent point : not being responsible for how anyone else is feeling and vice versa.. but
    at the same time does that point out the fact that someone is responsible for how i am feeling : me !?
    So if someone gives me a bad feeling its my job ‘ to don’t let it stick on me
    I know the facts but are not too good at the follow thru part ..
    Time2be likes this.
  11. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    I am so grateful for this thread! So much insight, vulnerability and strength. I just want to say there is a huge difference between on the one hand understanding and accepting the flaws of another person and on the other forgiving them what they did to you. I don’t forgive my parents. They simply never made any effort to change things. They just stuck to their pattern. But I do recognize that it had been hard for them also. And I understand why they are as they are now. As a child and teenager I wanted to help them .. actually I bought selfhelp books about marriage for them :) later I accepted that I cannot do anything for them. It is worst with my mother. She is manipulative and it never dawned her that children will have a life of their own. She thinks they are there for her happiness. The damage is made.
    Their attitude doesn’t stick to me as long as I rembember that I have a life of my own. And then I sometimes think of the lotus plant, they have a surface where nothing sticks. So I imagine I am a lotus plant, I move my arms and hand like I get rid of water and think at the same time that all the atmosphere or whatever they say will not leave an imprint on me. That helps.
    plum and Lainey like this.
  12. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi time2b,

    Its so sad we have to strugle so hard to let go of the wounds of our yought.
    Its true understanding helps a bit. My mother never had a mother herself and this certainly had impact on her life but also ours. Although i know this and understand stuff it still hurts sometimes
    Like your flower idea !
  13. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Oh, what a coincidence. My mother’s parents died also very early, her father when she was 9 and her mother when she was 13. She is stuck in the pattern of being the victim. And the rage she has towards her parents had never been allowed to come to the surface. So, this explains a lot . And you are right, understanding helps but it still hurts.
    karinabrown likes this.
  14. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    My grandmother died when my mother was 4 , her father remaried and had another family, she and her brother and sister where raised by her grandmother.
    She always put her pain to the back with the words ‘we did not know better. ‘You cannot miss what you did not have .. etc .. ‘brave words but even when i was little i felt it was a way to cope for her. It was a closed subject. So was the anger she even now somehow has about him. Wauw this christmas subject is digging up a lot ..

    She and my dad did a good job with us but dealing with emotions was always difficult for her. She always acts tuff and hides it.
  15. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    I am so sorry that you had a hard time in your family. My mother reacted different to her loss, she just became the victim and never sees herself as someone acting and responsible. She never ever would admit that she said or did something wrong. There seem to be very different reactions to this early loss of parents. My biggest problem with my mother is that she simply cannot acknowledge boundaries. I have to set boundaries again and again.
    Well, let’s see how these Christmas days turns out ...
    karinabrown likes this.
  16. ladyofthelake

    ladyofthelake Peer Supporter

    YES! I can't wait for it to be over. I hate thinking of gifts. I hate social obligations. I hate the extra busyness. I have childhood christmas bad memories.
    But I still pressure myself to make others happy...mostly my kids. UGH.
    It all feels like a dumb lie we all tell ourselves as a culture that it is a cheerful time. One MORE WEEK!
    Time2be and karinabrown like this.
  17. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    well, I wish you all - despite the problems and bad memories - a merry Christmas! I at least will do my best to have a good Christmas time.
    karinabrown likes this.
  18. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my TMS friends ! Today I just figured take my medication and enjoy the next 2 days as much as I can. I want to tell all the administrators that keep this site up a special "thank you". Life would be so much more difficult without all of you. Peace to all........
    Ellen and plum like this.
  19. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi all,

    When i started this topic some time ago i did not know that the whole christmas plan ‘ would take a turn an everything would work out different in terms of with who and where to spend it.
    So i was stressed out already before this but now new cercumstances made it worse. Today i started with upperback and neck so tight i thought i would go nuts : and i did ! Had a big fight and cried my eyes out and blured out all that is bugging me about the whole christmas arangement. Not proud of it but must say : i felt better psysical after that. Now just 2 more days and haleluja its over. Sorry for the negativity
    Will hopefully go back to being more me ‘ again after this.

    And totally agree : this forum is great,.
    Lately wondering if its not strange that we speak this honest here but maybe a lot harder in RL ? Another topic i guess :) thanks all for talking on this subject and wishing you balance and peace and little or even better no pain coming christmas days !
    plum likes this.
  20. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I second your thanks to the peeps that keep this place running. They are all amazing and generous souls. beerbuds

    Peaceful blessings to you dear @Click#7

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