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I feel stifled and like a failure

  • 20-04-2022 9:51pm
    Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭TheGlossy

    Hi all,

    I have been feeling extremely stifled and defeated in the last couple of weeks. It all started in 2021 when I worked 10-12 hours a day including some weekends. My workload kept getting worse and worse with demands right, left and centre. By Christmas, I was absolutely exhausted and burned out. I took the week leading to Christmas off which was meant to finally allow me to rest. However, on my first day back to work between Christmas and NY, my dad passed away and my life took a turn for the worst.

    In addition to the bereavement, I have to support my family with the estate paperwork which is incredibly consuming as they live overseas and I'm trying to coordinate everything remotely. My family is struggling financially at the moment (until the insurance comes in), so I find myself having to chip in.

    I have a very very strained relationship with my mother and we were estranged for 6 years. We reconnected over my dad's passing (against my will, frankly), but it has been me acting like the family therapist, accountant, administrative assistant more than anything else. My mother is not providing me any emotional support whatsoever. Last time, I told her I was tired because of everything that's going on, her response was: "Just letting you know, my friend is coming over, in case I need to cut you off at some point" and she ignored what I said. When I politely told her I didn't appreciate me trying to open up and her having such response, she burst into tears saying she can't get over my dad's death. She went as far as telling me I'm now responsible for the household. She has never worked a day in her life and was fully dependent on my dad, so now she's taking the passive seat again.

    To put things in context - I have a 25 year old brother who has been no help at all during this ordeal. He was been without a job for 4 months and is not doing anything except play video games all night and sleep all day. He's not helped with the paperwork at all. I have two sisters (18, 20). One of them is doing her leaving cert at the moment, so I want her to focus on that. My other sister is in college and has been a great help with the paperwork and even helps my mother a bit financially.

    My dad left some debts behind (not a lot) and I managed to arrange a payment plan, but my mother has now requested me to pay the first instalment despite asking for the payment plan.

    I'm in my early thirties and the amount of stress from work is already starting to have a severe effect on me. Everyone is throwing their demands at me at work, acting like I'm their personal assistant, setting unreasonable last-minute deadlines to the point where I can't keep up anymore. This, in addition to my family which has been fully reliant on me to do everything for them instead of acting like a team. I really feel as though I'm at wits end with everything and everyone.

    I'm stressed about performing at work. I'm stressed about sorting out my dad's estate which is incredibly slow and causing a financial strain on my family which is eventually going to start relying on me financially which will lead to me stressing out about finances. I have my own life to pay for. All this is causing me so much stress to the point where I have constant chest pains and headaches. It is too much and I feel I'm burning the candles at both end. The insurance is taking months. It's getting both frustrating and stressful as it getting finalized is the only way for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's almost been 4 months since my dad died and no sign of things getting on track.

    (Before anyone asks why there is not executor involved - my family lives in another country where the principle of "executor" isn't really a common thing and you only have to involve a notary / lawyer if the estate is above a certain threshold, which isn't my dad's case. He only had cash in the bank, a retirement plan and the mortgage with my mom being the co-borrower. He had no will).

    Any guidance on how to manoeuvre this situation would be appreciated.

    Post edited by TheGlossy on



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,670 ✭✭✭Alkers

    Can you look for a different job?

  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭TheGlossy

    I would and I have been, but my CV is getting rejected from every angle.

    However, in the state I'm in, I'm not sure adding another layer of complication (i.e. starting a new job, in a new company) is going to do me any good because then I will have the stress of passing my probation and performing even more so than I do now in my 2.5 year job. You need to be at the top of your game when starting a new job and right now, I wouldn't even know how to sell myself during an interview. I wouldn't be a good asset to a new employer. It might add even more stress on me actually because I know how to do my current job with my eyes closed so even though it's long hours and stressful, I have that "security blanket" of knowing how to do my job and being good at it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,694 ✭✭✭✭Akrasia

    It sounds like an absolute nightmare

    If your employer was reasonable they would understand if you had to take some time to organise your family affairs.

    You should also be able to get a GP to certify you as sick due to stress and or anxiety.

    There is absolutely no shame in that. If you have enough PRSI contributions you should get illness benefit which will give you space to breath and the time to properly grieve for your father without a high pressure job eating away at you.

    Nobody in Ireland is expected to routinely work 10 plus hours a day including weekends and even without your bereavement this would give you legitimate grounds to lodge a complaint against your employer in the WRC

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,184 ✭✭✭riclad

    I think you should talk or email the working members of your family asking have they any plan to share the costs of the paying the bills until the estate is settled and insurance policy paid out. It's important to hold onto all bills documents receipts until the estate is settled as you don't know exactly what you may need in the future there may need to be so kind of new payment plan in regard to the mortgage

    I agree I don't think you could change your job at this point maybe you should ask your boss to reduce your overtime hours I had to act to close down one bank account for probate, I found it stressful Re getting all the documents from relatives in 3 different country's it took a few months to get it done and this was for a single bank account you should go easy on your mother as she is probably very stressed and she needs you to take over administering the bills

    It sounds like the insurance will mostly cover the bills but it will take months to get it paid out so you may have to pay bills for the immediate future along with your sister

    if you look on the forum askaboutmoney ie there's sections there to do with finance insurance probate etc which you can use to get more expert advice I'm not a finance expert but maybe you should tell the mortgage company your father passed away and the estate is being dealt with if they don't know if you arranged a temporary payment plan I think you and your sister will have to pay it for the moment

    It's very important get some exercise make sure you are on a healthy diet get 8 hours sleep i don't understand working 10 hours weekends etc but I understand some people have to deal with emails etc and I don't work for any company or do admin work so I can't give advice on that

    Even. In 6 months time There'll have to be someone in charge of admin paying bills on time whether it's you or your sister even after the estate is complete eg bank account closed insurance paid out your mother may be eligible for a pension or some temporary welfare payment maybe your sister could look into this since I presume she has no income right now

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,605 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    Of course you feel stifled that's a lot to feel responsible for. You need to learn to say no, or at least draw a line some where. I would guess that's why there is a common theme in your life of people overloading you with work, because they know you will say yes and take it on.

    From your work to your family, you do not and should not have to do everything. It is coming at the cost of your own mental health.

    It's OK to set limits with people. It's not possible for one person to do everything. At the end of the day everyone else is setting limits with you, so be a little selfish here.

    Regarding the money you are paying to family, have you any arrangement for how you're going to get this money back? Have you even thought about getting it back? I would put a stop to that ASAP and if people are in need of money and need the money from the estate urgently, then let them take over dealing with it.

    As for your mother - she's not the supporting kind by the sounds of things. Going to her for support is only making your feel more hurt. Just don't go to her.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,533 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    OP, this (co)dependency will continue as long as you are letting it happen. It sounds like you have realised that you will crash if you are continuing the way you are going, which is good.

    Your mother needs to get her **** together, so does your brother. As stated above neither have any incentive to change out of their roles and take on an active part because they haven’t had to. Delegate tasks to them and do not step in to help out. You seem convinced that your mother is helpless and won’t be able to things for herself, but you’d be surprised how well she will be able to operate if she wants to.

    Don’t fall for the weepy victim ruse she puts on: you have all lost someone and her grief does not outshine yours or your siblings. If she and your bother are struggling they need to seek medical help themselves, it’s not difficult. It’s not your job to provide for them now, it’s their own responsibility.

    Make a list of things that you feel you can continue to help with, and also list items that they can do themselves. You need to delegate urgently before you run out of steam. It’s a bit like the safety instructions on a plane: you need to put on your own oxygen mask before you attempt to help others.

    Best of luck.

  • Posts: 0 Zaiden Odd Strap

    Sorry to hear of your troubles. Sunny gave great advice.

    I'd like to add, make sure (this may sound easier said than done right now) to get proper sleep. Without this your mind can't reset/heal and the feelings you describe seem to multiply.

    You definitely need to set boundaries at work and at home. Don't let anyone emotionally blackmail you into anything. As for financial support, only what you can afford short term.

    You are not your dad. Nobody should expect you to fill his boots.

    Sorry again for your loss.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭TheGlossy

    Thank you for the kind responses, everyone. I really appreciate it.

    I unfortunately do not have close friends or a partner to discuss any of this with. I wish I could go to therapy to have someone to speak to, but therapy is expensive and I need to protect myself financially first.

    I don't want to go easy on my mother because she is a narcissist. I won't go into the details, but my upbringing with her was pretty horrific and I'm still traumatized to this day. Being around her or even talking to her makes me so tense, it creates a physical reaction in me. She shows no appreciation for all I'm doing and all she does is complain. She thinks her pain is greater than everyone else's.

    My mother has a small financial assistance of roughly €430 at the moment, but it all goes into the mortgage. My dad had a mortgage protection, but the insurer is taking ages to finalize the application. If it comes through, the mortgage will be fully covered. She will also get my dad's retirement in a few months + her own retirement. It's not like she will remain without any income forever, but in the interim period, it is very stressful for me to have to deal with this on top of me not getting any emotional support from anyone. While I feel it's my duty to help, I also feel taken advantage of.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,533 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    I also highly doubt that you will be reimbursed for the instalment you already paid. You can of course try to set up an official repayment plan but I guess you know how successful that will end.

    Your mother is one issue and as I said above she is not your responsibility. Your siblings could likewise contribute, there is nothing stopping them from doing so. I appreciate your sister is but there is no excuse why your brother can’t.

    You don’t need an excuse to turn down the financial and emotional support: you can’t afford it long term, and that’s enough of a reason. Sounds like you have given more than enough at this stage.

  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭TheGlossy

    I won't get reimbursement for the instalment I just paid. That's for certain I didn't even get as much as a "thank you", let alone a reimbursement. My mother will got ballistic if I do ask for it because she'll ask me how dare I ask her for reimbursement when she's at her lowest. I wouldn't ask for reimbursement now anyways, but I won't get anything even if I ask.

    I've decided to go silent on money matters moving forward unless it's to update them on the insurance and retirement applications. I won't ask how they're coping financially because if I do, I will be reeled into absorbing more expenses or debts, which I don't want to. It may be harsh, but me asking about how they're doing financially will just open the door to me having to absorb more. I'm just going to focus on the paperwork moving forward.

    My brother has no excuse at all. He is 25, refusing to help with the paperwork and claiming he is in too much grief to do anything other than sleeping all day and playing video games all night. It has been 4 months of this. I try to cut him some slack because he went through a really really rough patch right before my dad died (set-up a start up and which fell apart he got wrongly accused of something he didn't do and ended up with legal troubles and lost all the money he invested in it), then he watched my dad die in front of him. It is difficult, I can acknowledge he is emotionally battered. However, it does not justify not helping at all. My brother bursts into tears every single time I say something, so at this point, the whole family is completely chaotic and I don't have the bandwidth to deal with this. I'm not the parent and I never chose to be responsible for 4 adults. It's unreasonable.

    If I keep paying for everything, they will all get complacent and become co-dependent on me. I have to set boundaries to avoid creating a vicious cycle of co-dependence. They need to fend for themselves.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,605 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    While I feel it's my duty to help, I also feel taken advantage of.

    It's one thing helping. Its another thing spearheading it all which is what it sounds like you're being asked to do.

    Getting yourself support is a priority. Make an appointment with your gp and see about what can be worked out.

    In the meantime, you're not a failure just learn to say no when you're being overloaded. It's perfectly reasonable.

  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭TheGlossy

    I am spearheading the whole thing because my mom told me it was my responsibility. I feel it is my duty to an extent, but because no one else in the family wants to help (aside from my sister) because my mother keeps telling everyone she solely relies on me, no one is lifting a finger. I wanted us to face this as a team, a family unit. Not one person trying to keep a chaos organized.

    When I told her it was unreasonable to expect me to be everything for everyone, she burst into tears. I told her I'm doing the best I can and she said regardless, it won't replace my father's presence and spirit (I understand her pain, but it has no relevance to what I was trying to express). I'm not trying to replace my dad's spirit or character - what an odd thing to think. She's inflicting stress on me by saying I'm fully responsible for her household (word for word) then she corners me saying I can't replace my dad's spirit around the house.

    It's wrecking my head and I can't even think straight in my own personal life. I'm really worried I'm going to start making reckless decisions on an emotional impulse.

    The GP I went to 4 weeks after my dad died told me I needed pills. I don't need pills to treat grief and work/estate stress. Some GPs out there think pills are the solution to everything.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,458 ✭✭✭SuperBowserWorld

    God, it sounds like you are really under the hammer. Don't beat yourself up over anything. And take time out just to do nothing. Outside, nature. It's a beautiful time of the year. Make a long term plan for yourself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,533 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    That sounds like a good plan, but rest assured that she will put on the pressure and water works when she wants or needs more. It might still get to you despite your knowing how she operates.

    Best of luck. Place yourself first because nobody else will.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,060 ✭✭✭✭fits

    The months after a bereavement are tough. But it will pass. I think it might be good to talk to work and see about reducing your workload.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,184 ✭✭✭riclad

    This is a temporary situation ,it,,ll get better ,i presume when you mention retirement you mean pension ,so basically you are paying some bills while you deal with paperwork ,closing down the bank account,waiting for the insurance policy to come through .you are helping your mother but you are also helping your family by keeping the family home secure for the future . my experience of dealing with probate is all you can do is all you can do is send documents to the bank and insurance company, legal rep,etc email or phone them maybe once every few weeks to make sure everything is on track .Keep a record of all documents sent and recieved .If you do not do it another family member will have to do it. i was in a similar situation in that i felt i had to provide financial support for a close relative

    while various financial transactions, were being processed as she was older than me, on a low income and she still had bills ,rent, etc to pay while the finances bank account, etc were being activated . i think you are doing this for your whole family not just one person.

  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭TheGlossy

    You summed it up pretty well. That's exactly what's happening.

    My mom is on very low income, but she is the co-borrower on the mortgage, so she has no other option but to pay at the moment until the insurance money comes in. Then if you add the tax debt my dad left behind, it is a lot of stress on them and I was trying to alleviate that by arranging the payment plan for the tax debt and absorbing the first instalment all while following up on all processes.

    It is a lot of stress because these processes are extremely long and my mother is not a patient woman, she keeps asking why everything is taking so long and complaining. I understand her frustration, but I wish I had a good support unit to face this even if I absorb it all alone.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 360 ✭✭Xidu

    OP, so sorry to hear you are going through so much. I had a tough few years in my early 20s running between jobs and helping 2 sisters on financially to finish school. Here’s my suggestions:

    1. you need to talk to your manager about your workload. Tell your manager about your family situation also, as there’s a type of leave called stress leave, it can be work or non-work related. Normally you will get paid for 4month stress leave I think. Of course only leave that to the last.
    2. tell your manager that you need help to cut down work hours to 8hrs as you have so much to deal at home now.
    3. i wouldn’t think your mom is good at helping or understand your feelings sounds like she relys on your dad so much and she can’t cope.
    4. chat w your friends,
    5. set up hrs that you plan to work on paper documents, ask your brother n sister to help on that, delegating some simple jobs to them.
    6. finance part, I think when your sister get a job it will get better. And once you get the insurance or your dad’ pension.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,605 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    Your mother is wrong. As you know it's not your responsibility to take it all on. She is manipulating you to save herself the workload, or because she can't do it herself. OK, she is a grieving widow, but if you have any 'responsibility' here - it's to help not to be fully responsible. Divide the work out between you all - one person take x amount of people/banks that have to be followed up with so one person isn't doing it all. If others aren't pulling their weight it's on them, not you - don't take on what they're not doing.

    It works for your mother to have you feel like you are responsible and I would bet she's saying you can't replace your dad so that you'll put in the extra effort - a reverse psychology attempt. You are not your dad, you don't have to be your dad , all you have to do is your best which you are excelling at. She's even telling you she's asked the friend to help as a way for you to fight for your place - she needs you more than you need her. I would tell her you can help but you can't do it all and suggest everyone take on their bit and that's it.

    Then go back to your GP and tell them tablets are not what you're after. Ask can they recommend a counsellor or another path, speak up for what you need. If the GP can't help you there is a thread here with help on how to find a counsellor. It's time to look after yourself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,006 ✭✭✭Tork

    OP, I don't have anything new to add to the great advice you've been given up-thread. I just felt I had to reply to say you are far from a failure. You're coming across to me as a kind, responsible, capable human being who has been dealt a bum hand when it comes to family members. If you are doing anything wrong at all, it's that you're allowing other people walk over you. Saying No is one of the hardest things to do if you're a people pleaser or somebody who struggles with boundaries. I get the impression that that's what is happening to you in work and in your family. The good news is that you can put a stop to that and I think you can. I've heard of a saying that goes "Put your own oxygen mask on first" and it's something I cannot emphasise enough for you. Please put yourself first and take steps to ease back on the pressure on yourself. You'll find that when you say No or don't treat everything that comes your way as urgent, the world will keep turning.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,021 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    the world will keep turning.

    This. This by 1000. No matter what, the world will keep turning. If you pile enormous pressure on yourself, or if you decide to say no, the world will keep turning. If you collapse tomorrow and end up in hospital the world will keep turning. Things will get sorted out when they get sorted out and you putting yourself under stress and pressure isn't going to make other people move their portion of the work along quicker.

    Be a bit selfish. It's allowed. You'll notice other people around you are and they seem to get on just fine.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 5,689 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    I remember your thread about the loss of your dad and how difficult work is. I'm so sorry that you have this additional stress on you. Great advice upthread, I won't add any more to that.

    I think you would benefit from being able to talk all of this out. I know you have mentioned that cost is an issue. There is low cost counselling available. E.g, I know someone who attended counselling with PCI College, and found it very helpful.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,006 ✭✭✭Tork

    I can't advise you specifically about the legal end of things, especially your mortgage. I get the feeling you're not in full possession of the facts and may be making the wrong decisions. Have you sought impartial advice on this?

    The one thing I have learned from life in general is that there can be great value to be had in digging your heels in and saying "No" "I can't", "Not now" or "I can give you X and Y but not Z". There will always be people out there only too eager to take advantage of those who are too obliging. You get no thanks for being helpful.

    In work, if there is too much coming your way, that shouldn't be your problem. It's your manager's problem to sort. It's up to them to delegate work better, reorganise things or take on new staff. I can tell you from years of experience that taking on extra work rarely turns into a promotion or extra cash in your pocket.

  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭TheGlossy

    What do you mean the wrong decisions? Reading this type of comment really triggers more anxiety in me. Sorry, not to be rude, I know you're trying to help.

    Impartial advice on the mortgage? I went through all the contracts my dad left behind before initiating anything. There isn't really much to decide on:

    1. He had a mortgage protection insurance which would cover the mortgage at 100% in case he died. He passed away, I went to the bank to discuss whether the process. They took a look at the file and said all OK to initiate the claim. The claim is now being processed by the insurer. I had a thorough read through the mortgage contract. Both my parents are borrowers but only my dad was insured in case of death.
    2. My family lives in another European country where if your partner dies, you can put in an application to claim a certain % of their pension which I did.
    3. He had cash in the bank which my mother had access to and was availing of until it ran out.
    4. He had a life insurance policy and my mother is the only beneficiary on this, so we just initiated the process with the insurer.

    Most people over there don't hire a lawyer or a notary unless they have a large estate. I might have to discuss with the bank what options we have in case the insurance doesn't come in this month. I was originally told it would take 2-4 weeks for the insurance to come through and it's been 2 months because they have a huge backlog. I'm just going through a basic process that people I already know went through without an external advisor (particularly the mortgage bit). I had a thorough read on various platforms before initiating anything. I've a legal and financial background myself, so I don't have my head completely in the sand either, but if things remain stuck, I will seek an external party certainly (which would be on my dime, since they can't afford it).

    I agree on the work point though - going above and beyond just leads to you getting more work. Nothing more.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,006 ✭✭✭Tork

    I was only asking the question - there was no malice intended. There's no need to bite my head off. What I was getting at was that maybe you aren't privy to all the information needed and that you could be doing things somewhat differently. The question was asked up-thread about what families with nobody to pay the mortgage do? None of us knows the ins and outs of the laws where you live, so please don't get upset if we're getting this wrong. Let's just agree that you're doing everything right and that it's the work part that is more urgent.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭TheGlossy

    I wasn't biting your head off. Apologies if it came across that way.

    I think my anxiety is also causing me to doubt every single thing I'm doing whether it's with this or at work and I've become very sensitive. I'm always on edge.

    I'm sure there is some information I'm not privy to. I was given access to all the contracts my dad left behind. I have tried to seek help on local financial forums (a bit like to see if there is any other option I'm not thinking of at the moment and I never got a single response on any of those forums.

    I spoke to both the insurer and the bank and they said we'll have to absorb the mortgage in the interim period until the mortgage protection money comes in. My mom is the co-borrower on the mortgage. From a legal standpoint, she is as much liable. All the mortgage payments have been debited from her account since day 1 15 years ago.

    I'll try to investigate if there's another interim option for them out there, we'll see if I can find something.