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Drifting from family

  • 04-08-2022 12:03am
    Registered Users Posts: 945 ✭✭✭

    I'll try keep this short. Male here, early 30's.Basically my parents are separated, bad break up. He abandoned us and kept his money from us. We struggled financially as a result of this. Growing up I always saw myself as less than everyone else. No relationship with my father at any stage of my life including now.

    The situation was all but never spoken about between my mother and siblings and I. Always an act put on that everything was OK and a joke made of it if anything.

    My mother has never dealt with the break up and never moved on from it. She got on with life because she was busy rearing us but never has and never will enjoy life now that shes retired. I can't have a conversation with my mother about what went on as she doesn't want to talk about it. In truth, neither do I.

    I've matured a lot in the past few years but I've never spoken with my siblings about all of this and I really think they block it all out

    I'm at an age now where girls I meet are looking to settle down. I can't think of anything worse to do as I associate it with the hardship we went through as kids and how my mother is now.

    I speak with my siblings now and I feel I'm just going through the motions and am not close to them in any way. I don't even know what advice I'm looking for here, part of me just wants them to admit that they are as damaged as me after how we were brought up. I must also add that my siblings are all high achievers and have their own families now.

    Maybe I'm the only one who is damaged.. Also I must add, my mother is a wonderful woman who dedicated her life to us. She just never dealt with her issues and its rubbing off on me now. I see myself in her and I don't want to be that person. This leads to me not wanting to visit home and spend time with her..

    I'm living the opposite side of the country and i don't like going home as it brings up all of the wounds, also I'm planning on buying a property my side of the country. I've no family here, it probably speaks volumes.

    Don't know what I'm expecting people to say here


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,857 ✭✭✭Pissy Missy

    First of all I want to say I'm sorry you went through this, no one should.

    It sounds like there's a lot of pain and wounds and perhaps a need for processing and healing to be done OP. A lot of trauma and low self esteem.

    But does it start with yourself (through introspection and knowledgeable books and/or a counsellor) or does it start with open communication with your family? 🤔 You said your mum doesn't want to talk about it and you said neither do you. It can be extremely hard to talk about deeply painful times and the longer it's brushed under the carpet in typical Irish fashion, the harder it can be.

    How do you know your mum never dealt with it and will never be happy again? I'd imagine it's hard to come to that conclusion when she doesn't tell you what's on her mind.

    There's a bit of assuming and mind reading going on here it appears as you say although you never spoke to your siblings you think they've blocked it all out.

    I think you have great insight into how you feel and can see why you would understandably associate settling down with dread, fear and avoidance.

    It sounds like you feel a bit disconnected/dissimilar/isolated from your siblings. There's a parallel here, you want them to admit their hurt/damaged by ye're past but at the same time, they've had success in their life despite this.

    I'm just wondering by going all the way to the opposite side of the country, does it make you feel better? You said your mums issues are rubbing off on you, skeletons in the closet that haven't been dealt with yet. And as you know, the more you avoid, the more the problem will carry on and strengthen. Its a pity you're missing out on time with your mum, but I understand no one would want to be around a person or place that embodies constant hurt and sadness. But it sounds like the sadness and hurt are still following you despite keeping away,albeit to a slighter less extent.

  • Registered Users Posts: 945 ✭✭✭WhiteWalls

    Thank you for your measured response.

    Is there any books that you would recommend to help?

    Its pretty clear my mother never dealt with the issues, she has low self esteem and a very negative outlook on the world. Her traits have rub off on me which I worry about.


    etting that bit older and now seeing my siblings with children, it shows me how dysfunctional my upbringing was.

    My mother is close to 70 now, I've tried helping her and she won't listen. I've come to the conclusion when i go home to let everyone live their lives and not be giving out to anyone or stirring the pot by bringing up these issues.. Two of my siblings have their own families now, i don't see the help in digging up old wounds now. I do feel I've distanced myself from them because of this.

    I do know i need to deal with how i feel, I've done well for myself too i might add, I'm not a tear away or black sheep by any means. I still appreciate i have demons though that need to be addressed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,857 ✭✭✭Pissy Missy

    In terms of your specific situation, I'm not sure what book to recommend. There are books on self esteem and there's a good book called self awareness by Anthony de mello. Writing in a journal might also be helpful for you to gain a bit more self awareness with how the past impacts you today. Personally though, you have been through real adversity and it sounds like you've come to a point where you want to process, heal from it and move on, if I'm not mistaken. I would highly recommend considering counselling, though I completely get the thought of that can be scary too, but by finding the right one they can make such a positive difference to your life. This is a link to some steps to take and services. If you decide to go ahead and want to go private, make sure they are fully qualified as unfortunately theres a few cowboys out there. If you're not sure what to look out for, you can ask me later if you go for it.

    Well it sounds like you've wanted the best for your mum but you can't take a horse to water or whatever that saying is. Some people don't want help or don't have the insight to their situation/problem either. And some people are just set in their ways. You can see from your siblings perhaps what a healthy upbringing 'should' look like when two fully functioning parents raise their kids, though no doubt your mum did the best she could do at the time, understandably the experience has left a few scars on your own upbringing. Like the previous person wrote here, some people sadly don't have the capacity to meet others needs be that emotional for example. Some other people will have that space for you though.

    I wonder what the reason is to silence yourself around your siblings by not stirring up the pot or giving out to them as you say. By not openly communicating, do you think it makes you feel unheard, frustrated or resentful. Are you distancing from your siblings because you feel you can't talk to them or because they have their own 'happy' families?

    Well done on doing well for yourself despite all the adversity you've experienced and I think it's great you're addressing it now so hopefully you can a much more fruitful life going forward.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,215 ✭✭✭Tombo2001

    OP - get counselling.

    Who can you talk to about this? If no-one, then get counselling. Ask your GP to direct you somewhere.

    That would be my advice.

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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,591 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    Two people can go through the exact same experience and come out the other side affected differently. We're all built differently so what might affect you deeply may not be the same for your siblings. That doesn't make you any worse or weaker than them in fact it could quite possibly be that they're in denial and haven't processed what happened at all. Either way don't use someone else as your measuring stick as to how you should or shouldn't be feeling.

    At the end of the day what happened is effecting you and your life and for that very reason its worth addressing. I think counselling is a good idea. Definitely talk to your GP and ask them for a recommendation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 945 ✭✭✭WhiteWalls

    Thanks for the responses, i genuinely appreciate it. I'll take the advice on board

  • Administrators Posts: 13,009 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    @stbdfr I have deleted your post due to a lot of false/wrong information. Personal Issues is a heavily moderated forum due to the sensitive nature of the posts here and we cannot allow dangerous or misleading advice to remain on threads. We ask all posters to read The Forum Charter carefully.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 Bipass

    I dont have anything to add that other havent already said. But i empathise with your situation. Also you are not your mother and need not be defined by her experience.

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