Family Therapy - Advice and Commentary Wanted

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by idiomie, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    That's patently untrue. You are a real person and that's your depression speaking after frankly, years of emotional abuse. It's like it was the explanation that popped up in your head for why you were treated the way you were and it stuck. You are a bona fide person. You have all the rights everyone has. Your parents are obviously not qualified to be parents, what the fuck. And how you are treated matters.

    Let me provide another comparison. I went to a Good College. I did Good for a while, until I got hit by insomnia and depression from the stress and from my cousin's suicide, and suddenly I was struggling and couldn't get my good grades, and I was having executive dysfunction issues up the wazoo. My parents got angry because they were confused and afraid. They lashed out at some point at me as lazy and wasting time when I should have been focused on my grades (there is one legitimate criticism, which is that I spread myself too far trying to do too much. I've learned a big lesson about not biting off more than I can chew). They made me cry in a restaurant after I graduated. I didn't do bad, but I didn't do well either, and I'd always been on track to be Excellent and Good, and it was a big let down.

    When I got my diagnosis? You know what they did? They apologized for how they treated me. They apologized for hurting me. And they improved their behaviour and changed their ways of dealing with me so as to help my depression, to help me heal, to help me do normal daily things because suddenly I couldn't make myself food and suddenly I wasn't brushing my teeth because I was still so depressed. And I got better thanks to their support. That's how your parents should have responded, at the least.

    (Sorry for not replying earlier, I couldn't really touch the thread for a while. I'm she/her for future reference but don't mind them, thanks for not pinging me back then.)
    • Agree x 2
  2. Existrum

    Existrum Member

    This is horrible. The fact they haven’t done it to your siblings seems kind of telling that they’ve realized it wasn’t the best idea and still refuse to apologize for hurting you with that.
    (Emphasis mine) I’m disgusted by how they made your pain about them. This is the same sort of thinking that is used when accusing you of being depressed at them. Inexcusable behavior from adults, from parents.
    Disgusting. Horrifying. Inexcusable. Especially when followed with this?
    No, it was not justified, and they know it but refuse to admit it, probably even to themselves. They badly mistreated you, hurt you, made your pain about themselves, made and continue to make everything about themselves, blamed and continue to blame you for having basic human needs, and expect this to completely work out in their favor. This is unacceptable. There is nothing here that is defensible. My blood boils with rage on your behalf. How dare they.
  3. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    That's okay! Take care of yourself, it's okay if you need to step away, and you didn't have to come back, either. I hope you don't mind me pinging you this time?

    I'm the only child with these problems. All of my siblings report very happy childhoods. I don't know why my parents struggled so much with me, but my siblings all have close, loving relationships with my parents, which. Does a lot to reinforce the idea that whatever is wrong with our relationship and with me, is a problem with me.

    OTOH Rachel gets into long drawn out screaming matches with my parents regularly, so. Maybe we all just have very fucked up ideas about what is okay.

    At the very least though, they treat Emily and William substantially different and I think do do a good job with them. Generally, I think I was just a child predisposed to developing mental illness and my parents were just very poorly equipped to handle that.

    Emphasis mine. I don't really think they're ever going to apologize. Or, if they do apologize, it's going to be an apology that makes it about how it was all really my fault. An apology would be nice, but. I'm not holding my breath. I do want them to change their behavior, which. They are equally resistant to actually doing.

    Relatedly: on the topic of not being able to care for yourself. I am learning so many things about my executive dysfunction that basically amount to: if I stop trying to do stuff by what I'm "supposed" to do, and instead do them how I can... I do a much better job at doing things.

    My parents play off the Wall of Shame like it was a joke, and I think the other three genuinely believe that's all it ever was. Idk, maybe it was a joke I took to seriously, but I make serious reference to it in emails to my ex-best friend circa 2010. It was definitely a thing that defines how I interact with being graded.

    And, idk. Girl's state was bad, and what my mother said definitely pretty much entirely ruined my positive memory of it, but. I don't know. I don't even think the collective of everything is all that bad?

    at this point i can't tell if this thread belongs here or in ITA :(
    • Witnessed x 2
  4. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    It really wasn't that bad. I mean, I know we need family therapy if things are going to get better, but. I feel like a lot of our problems are that I'm too sensitive to things.

    And like, "I'm too sensitive" is, I think, an objective fact.

    Like, take my relationship with Lebesgue. Lebesgue has never intentionally hurt me - but I'm really sensitive so we have a bunch of issues around "are you mad at me? i thought you were mad at me" and "you don't like this thing i'm doing? obviously i'm a horrible, despicable person" and I just. Overreact. To everything. And Lebesgue and Briar and my other partner and my irl friends approach this with "well, how do we troubleshoot this" but. No one's required to do that for me. And my parents obviously don't want to.
  5. Lebesgue Integreat

    Lebesgue Integreat Lesbian Intrigue

    Ok but sweetie the thing is. The only reason it's an overreaction is because we are not what you're used to. Your reactions would be well within what is expected with regards to your parents. Because you have to walk on flash frozen egg shells with cement blocks tied to your feet around them. You react the way you do with us because your brain has determined by your treatment from your parents that that is what to expect. And around them it is adaptive. You know how they are and what to expect by this or that small motion. The reason it's maladaptive around us is because we do not mistreat you like that.

    In sum, your problems with your parents are not that you're too sensitive, your problems with your parents are that you are being mistreated.
    • Agree x 4
  6. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    Yeah you’re sensitive as a protective coping mechanism because with your parents you really do need to be that wary and careful. It’s not that you are overreacting with them. Your responses are measured to them.

    Looks like you were the scapegoat child and this they came down harder on you than on your siblings. That’s my hypothesis for now at least.
    • Agree x 3
  7. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that's - it's not just "not normal", it's really just about the worst way I can think of to try and motivate someone to do better even in a situation where that person is completely mentally healthy and neurotypical.

    I mean, not exactly same hat? Because while I was definitely deeply depressed during high school (and middle school...and most of grade school), and my parents weren't exactly thrilled with my grades or my lack of organization (from my then-undiagnosed ADHD), and they also didn't punish me for bringing home bad grades but they didn't provide much help or realize that I was depressed and struggling (primarily because I never...really reached out to ask for help, because depression!*). The few times I actually asked for help with trying to study or get organized, my mom was all over trying to help me, and my dad was right behind her; he loved helping me out with school projects and was absolutely in favour of making sure that I had whatever I needed to be set up for success - when it was suggested in college that having a speech-to-text program and a tape recorder so that I could record lectures and write essays without the difficulties of having to process my thoughts into typing, he went out and got me Dragon Naturally Speaking and a tape recorder I could carry around with me to class without it being too obvious. He made sure I had a laptop that was good enough for what I needed it to do.

    I always knew, even in the worst of my depression, that the only reason my parents weren't doing more to help was because they didn't know about how bad things were. If I'd managed to find words to express it, they would absolutely have tried to help. Even without me having words, my mom still saw that I wasn't doing great, and she tried her hardest to help; during middle school and high school, she'd sometimes look at me and go "okay, no, I'm calling you in sick, you're taking a mental health day" and she was right that I needed to take a day off from trying to cope with school.

    I wasn't punished for bad grades. My parents shrugged at the fact that I did abysmally in math, and encouraged me to focus on the stuff I could do well. Which led to a lot of "hey, you're good at arranging flowers and you really enjoy it, maybe being a florist would work well for you" and "hey, you're really awesome at painting rocks and it's something you enjoy, this might be a viable business for you".

    You're a person. The idea that you aren't is wrong; it's probably the depression talking and being backed up by the fact that you know your siblings get treated differently.

    You're not overly sensitive, you have trauma. A military veteran who has panic attacks or reacts like they're under attack when they hear fireworks isn't being too sensitive; you're not being too sensitive by reacting exactly the way your parents' behaviour has trained you to react, just because you're in a different setting.

    *ETA: added a bit because I realized that I didn't finish a train of thought in response to Birdy's quote, which made it accidentally look like I was implying Birdy did get punished. Which isn't what I meant; the difference between me and Birdy is that my parents needed me to actually ask for help, and I mostly didn't.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
    • Agree x 2
  8. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    i'm not allowed to like things if they don't produce money
    • Witnessed x 3
  9. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    sorry to respond to things out of order, but addressing this first. sorry i flipped out above. my parents often ridiculed the things i was interested in unless they thought it was something that could produce money - and even then, if it wasn't "good enough" i was still steered away from it. the only interest of mine they've ever really supported is my interest in politics and law, and only with the aim of me working for the government.

    and it just. i realize it probably wasn't bad for you! but "hey, you're good at arranging flowers and you really enjoy it, maybe being a florist would work well for you" just. really hit that sore spot, i guess.

    because i've known since i was in elementary school that all i wanted to be was a stay at home parent, but that's never been good enough, i guess. sorry.

    responding to the rest in a separate post.
    • Witnessed x 2
  10. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    emphasis mine. this makes me kinda mad, and i'm sorry that i'm being so jealous here, but. i've never known that. it doesn't matter how well i can construct a sentence, they'll always believe that me struggling is because of intrinsic failings. they've somewhat changed their tune, saying that they no longer believe that i'm lazy, but like.

    then they get mad at me for believing that i'm lazy and it's like. i was just a kid. i didn't know why i was struggling either. you said i was struggling because i was lazy. of course i think i'm lazy now. why are you mad at me for that?

    i really don't have trauma. nothing traumatic happened in my childhood. i just had well meaning but ultimately kinda poor parents. that's not traumatic.
    • Witnessed x 1
  11. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry for having accidentally hit a trigger of yours. And I'm sorry that your parents never supported you doing things you were interested in unless it met some specific bar for "good enough". I think, for me, my parents going 'hey, this is a thing you're good at and enjoy, maybe you could make a career out of it' was because they were trying to figure out how to help make sure that I could be financially independent as an adult. And trying to direct me at jobs where I'd be doing something I liked doing was part of that.

    I'm sorry that's not something you've ever known. It should have been something you knew growing up.

    Sorry, but I have to disagree. Your childhood might have looked perfectly fine from the outside at the time, but you grew up - from your own reports - with the (completely justified) belief that if you had problems or needed help, your parents would not provide it to you. You grew up with your interests being mocked and dismissed, unless it met a very narrow criteria for "good enough". You grew up being told that unless you were excelling at what you tried, it wasn't good enough.

    Maybe your parents genuinely did mean well and were trying their best. But they still managed to do exactly the opposite of what would be good or healthy for any child.

    Just because what your parents did was emotional and verbal, that doesn't mean it wasn't traumatic to endure. You don't have to have been beaten as a child to have trauma. And you can still have trauma even if your parents genuinely cared and wanted what was best for you. I have trauma from my dad's temper tantrums, and people yelling at or around me makes me shut down; that doesn't mean my dad didn't love me or want to do his best to provide for me and make sure I was okay - it just means that he had a really shitty way of dealing with stress, and he really should have actually gotten therapy for it instead of trying to pretend that it was perfectly normal and acceptable to scream and swear at people, and throw things at walls or in the garbage when he was upset.
  12. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    Is it okay to be traumatized even if your parents meant well? and did what they thought was best? and love you?
  13. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    Trauma isn't about intention. Trauma is about the consequences of actions and the way they hurt others. So yes, it's ok to be traumatized even if your parents meant well and love you.
    • Agree x 8
  14. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    Like it sucks, even for them, but then maybe they should have taken stock of whether they were acting properly when you got more and more depressed and listened to you
    • Agree x 3
  15. NevermorePoe

    NevermorePoe Nevermore

    You can have emotional trauma. No one specific horrible event is required for trauma to happen, sometimes its a pattern of events over time that cause it.
    • Agree x 2
  16. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    Emphasis mine. Those are both really helpful quotes to have, actually.
    • Like x 6
  17. Vierran

    Vierran small and sharp

    Something that has been covered in a few of the classes about childhood, adolescence and mental health I've taken* is that two siblings raised in the same household can have vastly different experiences of that environment. Your experience of your home being different from your siblings' doesn't mean it's invalid, or that because the environment wasn't traumatic for them,** it wasn't traumatic for you. It's entirely possible that your parents were different with your siblings than they were with you, or that you had different needs than your siblings, and the hurt you experienced because of that is real, genuine and valid, even if your siblings were not hurt in the same ways.

    *I spent my first two and a half years studying this subject at a university level. The idea of different experienced environment was widely accepted in scholarly literature and textbooks.

    **We don't actually know this, and we can't, really, but I would encourage you to not be too certain your siblings are completely fine
    • Informative x 4
  18. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    I mean, yeah, I shouldn't assume that they're all okay.

    My brother is already showing signs of developing an eating disorder, so. I know they aren't.
    • Witnessed x 4
  19. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    this is the most passive aggressive bullshit and i don't know how or even if i do want to handle this

    so i'm vegetarian. been working towards it slowly over the last year (i like meat, i don't actually have an ethical problem with eating meat itself, it was hard to cut it out) and finally ended up being like "yeah i'm vegetarian" a couple months ago because i was living with family.

    they have, as expected, refused to respect me on the matter, throwing fits when i've refused to eat dinners with them that have meat (i mean, i'll sit at the table, i'll eat food, but it'll be food i prepared that's vegetarian).

    here's the thing: i don't object to raising animal for animal products. wool, leather, meat, dairy, eggs, feathers - all of it, i don't mind. i've butchered animals before and i'm comfortable with it. what i'm not comfortable is the state that essentially factory farmed animals live in; it's abhorrent. so, until i can tend to and butcher my own animals, i'm cutting meat and eventually eggs and dairy out of my diet.

    i'd even buy from local farmers (my parents have historically done this) who i know take good care of their animals.

    anyway my mother fucking sent me this

    and i'm just. yes. mother, i've been saying that. i don't think veganism/vegetarianism are globally sustainable/sustainable everywhere (actual veganism that calls for no bees certainly isn't). i've literally been saying this. well kept animals given a decent living environment and used to actually maintain and restore the local ecology - good.

    and i'm just. so tired. i literally agree with this article mother. if you had bothered to listen to a single fucking thing that came out of my mouth after "vegetarian" you would know this. ack.

    also my uncle keeps making antisemitic jokes and despite having only barely begun a conversion process and being on indefinite hold right now since i have no jewish community at all anymore, i am deeply uncomfortable on a visceral level that i had not expected.
    • Witnessed x 5
  20. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    I was kinda hoping to get someone to swoop in and be like "chill" but i Did Not Chill and sent my mother, almost an hour after she sent me this article, "Thanks! You clearly haven't listened to a thing I've said about why I'm vegetarian!"

    passive aggressive? yes :( don't feel bad enough to regret it yet though

    (probably will though)
    • Winner x 2
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