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Lonely Family.

Community Member

I feel that there may be an uncontrollable fracture between the members of my family.

My father is of an uneducated immigrant background and never took on the emotional mantle of being a father figure. He work hard to financially provide, but lacked leadership, proactiveness and empathy.

My mother suffered from 10+ years of depression which she believes is derived from a mix of a stress from working full time, taking care of two young children (emotionally and physically), her husband and a resurgence of unhappy childhood memories. She is retired now, and simply sits at home watching television endlessly. She has tried starting hobbies she previously wanted to (learning french, swimming, yoga and dance; some with and without friends to go with), but she struggles to find the motivation to commit. The only thing that has remained constant is her unwavering stubbornness and pride (she refuses to be proven wrong on a lot of occasions).

My older brother has become increasingly self-centered and intentionally distant in the last 5 years. He has developed a significant disregard for our parents and the rules of their household, is quick tempered when talking about any issue, refuses to acknowledge even potential validity behind of our parents opinion and has started to speak condescendingly towards them and even towards me as well.

I sit in the middle of all of this, not really sure what to make of the situation. I have tried mediating between each party, but it hasn't been successful. It feels like with any form of discussion, my brother immediately gets defensive and leaves the conversation, I can't rely on my dad to have some understanding and empathy for how each person is different, and my mum 's iron headed-ness hasn't shifted but overall her mental health seems to be deteriorating.

I've tried spending more time with the family as a whole, talking to them and engaging them, but I can't help but have this sinking feeling that it's not helping at all. I'm just not sure what else there is that I can do. It just always feels lonely.

3 Replies 3

Community Member

Hi Observer,

Firstly, welcome to the forums.

Wow you seem to be bearing the brunt of all these family issues you are having, it is so hard when you feel like the most level headed out of everyone and want nothing more than to have one family all on the same page, unfortunatly, it isn't always like that and each family has there problems. I know it's hard but part of you has to almost just keep your head up and be strong for each of your family members, deep down they may rely on you to keep it together which is not fair but may just be the case, usually in an unstable family, I am from one too, most members look at the one who seems to have it together and lean on them... I know it's tough and I don't have the greatest advice for this particular subject but just wanted to offer my support and always happy to talk.

My best for you and your family,


Community Member

Hey Observer

I'm new here, as in I just signed up today but have read a lot of forums before. I saw your post and resonate with it strongly. I'm a little bit further down the track from you, but have a very similar situation. Just a quick summary - I have a father who has bipolar, mother with severe depression and two older sisters, the oldest has always struggled with all sorts of mental illnesses. She is violent & scary.

I used to be close with the middle sister, until I moved away and realised she is a complete control freak and has basically destroyed not just my life, but her own sons also. She was so awful and started so many rumours that I had to quit my job, move house and cut off a lot of "friends" (except only two who refused to believe all the crazy stuff she made up)

I still don't even know why or what on earth she was thinking, but what I do know, is that none of what has happened had anything to do with me. My family have major issues that they refuse to deal with, and they don't go away, they get worse. I've always been different, had big dreams and basically feel like I have been protected from all their crazy stuff growing up. I am currently in deep grief over it all, that I can't escape from yet.

What I wanted to say, is that I don't agree with Jay - respectfully. Don't just 'keep you head up and be strong' for your family members. It's wrong that they won't do the right thing and be responsible for themselves. After all, you're responsible right? So am I. I've had to make hard decisions. What gives them the right to treat anyone the way they are treating each other and you? There is no good reason - ever.

My advice, do what I did - put up some concrete boundaries and a LOT of distance between yourself and them. The best thing you can ever do for your family is to get away from them and not to allow their poison to destroy your life. It will probably be the hardest thing you ever do - especially when they try to guilt trap and control you, which is what they most likely will do. Be prepared for it, and make decisions before-hand about what you will do when they react in ways you know they will.

Get away so you can deal with your own stuff which you will have by growing up around people like that. Any energy you put into trying to 'save' them, is like dressing up a pig in precious gems.

Community Member

Also, most importantly, I just wanted to say how very sorry I am that you have a family who refuse to do the right thing, that they don't place any value on what truly matters or recognise that love is more important then anything in this earth. It is the only thing that lasts. As the saying goes, if you love them, let them go. Your refusal to live like them, and by putting up steel boundaries may very well shock them into doing what is right, dropping foolish pride and getting help. And if they don't, well you know you could never save them by living around it so at least you got away.

Set yourself a new standard of who you have in your life: If someone only does the right thing when they 'feel' like it, then get as far away and as fast as you can. We all have choices and no one is special or exempt. Love always does the right thing, regardless of situation or what 'she or he did'. If you're angry, you don't go and boot the dog to 'let off some steam'. We all know that is the wrong thing to do, even if we think the dog deserves it.

I hope for your sake you get away before they poison your heart.