Black Sheep of the Family
This is my first time posting so here goes. I am a 45 year old married woman with two teenager children. My parents divorced when I was 18 and my mother left the family home. Since then I seem to have become the family scapegoat while my younger brother has taken on the role of the golden child. My brother is now 41. My father is a wealthy man who has given my brother a very well paid role in my father’s business and has moved my brother and his wife and children to Melbourne where he is living. I am living in Brisbane and now find myself responsible for my mother’s emotional and physical well being. We have never had a close relationship as her narcissistic behaviours prevented any closeness. I do however make sure that I go on outings with her regularly so that she doesn’t get lonely. She went through a very bad break up about 3 years ago and is living on her own. Despite this, she never posts any of this on her Facebook feed. To other family members it would appear as if I don’t exist in her life. I makes me seem like I am a bad daughter. Whereas my brother visited recently and they went out for dinner (I was not aware of this) as my brother and I are estranged. My mother then posted on Facebook about how wonderful it was to see him and how much she misses him and loves him to bits. Then other family members commented about what a wonderful son he is. There was and has never been any mention of me. This hurts me to the core and has been going on for many years. My father often tells me during phonecall that my husband deserves a medal for being married to me. I don’t know why they think I am so awful and I am beginning to think there is something wrong with me. I never call my dad anymore because I am so afraid of being put down. Sometimes this is about my job. I am a teacher. At other times it is about my parenting, or the behaviour of my children. Anything really. So he calls me regularly. I just feel so worthless.
I too feel as though I am the black sheep of my family at times. It can be quite upsetting to feel like your efforts aren't being acknowledged compared to siblings. I don't know your full story, but you sound like a compassionate person 🙂 I found what helped me with critical parents was to buffer what they say to me. I take it with a grain of salt & ask myself questions like, "would everybody else agree with this person?, is this person an expert, do they know all the facts, is what they say helpful for me to take onboard".
Everyone has opinions & it's really hard to buffer out your parents' opinions!! But unfortunately the only opinion about yourself that you can really control is yours. It might be an idea to do some activities that you love to build up your own self esteem. The better you're feeling in yourself the easier it may be to brush off your dad's comments. Perhaps even doing a meditation and picturing your mum & dad's opinions floating away from you, or some CBT with a psychologist.
Welcome to the Beyond Blue Forums.It's good you've made your way here. Jane has given you some very good ideas. There's not much more I can add, though I can relate my own experience to give you an idea you and Jane are not alone.
I had 3 sibling brothers. One passed away at 17. I was the third child and a girl. Mum had a narcissistic personality, along with many other unfortunate traits. My younger brother and I were never as good as our two older brothers, especially the one that died. She said to both of us after his passing, why couldn't have been one of us rather than him. I left the state in my mid 20s when I'd had enough and didn't return to the city until 30 years later because my younger brother was seriously ill. Both parents have passed on and he was in a very bad way.
Anyway, I had to learn as Jane said, buffer my parents dialogue. I changed it. I didn't deserve it and began to listen to other people in my life. There is a saying - you can't chose your family, they are who they are. You can't change them either. You can control your life though.
Find positives about yourself. Focus on you and not them for a change. In my opinion your father's dialogue to you is because you are still seeing your mother and he's possibly jealous, though he'd never admit it.
In terms of facebook, there are a couple of options - i) unfriend your mother so you won't see her posts or ii) you could share information about outings on her home page iii) share information on your own home page about your outings.
I realise it is difficult working and having 2 teenagers. I guess much of your activities revolve around them. Finding some external interests for yourself, other than family is a good way to go, e.g. sports, hobbies, book clubs, movie groups. Do you have any interests? Do you go on date nights with your hubby?
Let us know how you get on.
I too welcome you to the forum. It is sad reading your post and Jane and Pamela's. I thought I was a black sheep of my family as I was different and had a mental illness and was an under achiever but it wasn't because my parents treated me badly.
I feel so sad Fergy to read about how you parents treat you and I am sure you have broken that cycle with your children. Pamela and Jane have helpful suggestions.
I know some one who just removed her father from her life and he was so toxic to her and she felt better. I always hoped she would reconcile with him but she did not . Sometimes you need to do what suits you. My friend said she was not going to be the little girl pleading with her dad to praise her and notice her.
I can relate and have always been on the wrong side even when I'm the one who takes the burden of others in the family and the sister does bugger all but her own thing. I will say that my conclusion is that as the eldest I am destined for this attitude from my parent. Don't know why but I'm not willing to work it out either, it's their problem I do what's right. If they still don't see it it means they don't want to recognise that I am a competent person and perhaps are threatened in being proud of how I deal with things.