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When family is what knocks you down

Community Member

Hi all,

New member/poster here.

Little bit of a back story: As a teen, after self harming and some self destructive behavior i was diagnosed with depression. I managed this with regular doctors visits until i was about 18 or 19 when i went onto medication. At this point in time i was still living at home and really did not get along well with my parents, my dad passed when i was 7 so i lived with mum and my step dad, but especially didnt get along well with mum.

After moving out with my long term partner (across the country mind you!) before turning 20 things started to look up. I went off the medication and had a reasonably maintained life. We lived in that location for a year before moving back home. While we were there i was not on any medication and felt pretty happy, we got engaged, bought a car... all the things a 'normal' couple do.

When i thought about moving back one of the things i didn't look forward too was seeing my family. My dads family are all lovely and supportive, but my mothers family are... too concerned in their own lives to care...

Anyway.... we have had a fairly good time since being back. A few hiccups along the way but nothing major.

Well this year in April we got married.

In January before the wedding i could feel all of the pressure building up on top of me. Not from wedding planning, but more trying to keep other people happy with the plans for a day that was supposed to be about us. I started to feel really 'down' and even wanted to cancel the wedding because i couldn't keep people happy. I knew that i was starting to spiral down so i went and sought help. Not wanting to go back on medication i opted for seeing a psychologist. This has been helping a bit but with the holiday season coming up things are getting pretty tough.

Both my family and my husbands family have caused us grief in planning Christmas this year and once again i cant seem to keep anyone happy. We has things set out to include everyone but once we had finalised it all someone ended up complaining and getting angry at us. I have had multiple days where i just cry... over one little comment or over not being able to keep people happy. I just feel like such a failure constantly and i dont know what to do. I have one psych session left before the end of the year but at the rate it's going i am really considering going back on medication.

Sorry for the long post, just needed to vent.

Thanks for reading.

5 Replies 5

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Kaitie, welcome to the community.

I'm glad you have found the courage to vent your feelings...letting steam off IS good therapy. Nothing like writing things down to clarify our thoughts.

Getting married is a big, stress inducing transition at the best of time. It is even more difficult if you have a history of depression. A new wave of emotional unrest can easily be triggered. Add to this the added pressure of organizing end of year celebrations and the stress bucket overflows.

Your main concern seems to be the inability to please everybody, though it can't be done as different people have different expectations. You haven't failed...you have set yourself an impossible task. Perhaps you have taken too much responsibility on board and this excess of commitment needs radical surgery. Why not delegate some of the burden onto those who are not satisfied ? It might give them a better insight into the difficulties you are facing.

Depression and a difficult past often make us feel vulnerable to other people's judgment and expectations. The fact is, this life wasn't given to you to be lived according to the needs of those around you. Celebration should be a joyful time for everyone concerned. Why not let people know you are struggling and that their expectations are impacting on your peace of mind ?

You are kind and caring, doing your best to include everyone. Kudos to you for giving it your best shot. If the family doesn't understand and appreciate your efforts, let them have a go. Tell them the truth, that you are feeling unwell and under pressure to perform on top of it. Surely you cannot be blamed for feeling poorly. Hopefully, they might realize the pressure put on you is unfair. Depression is an illness like any other. If you were affected by any other physical condition, those around you wouldn't expect so much of you.

So please, be kind to yourself. YOUR peace of mind matters at least as much as theirs. Being able to say NO doesn't always come easy but it is sometimes a self-preserving necessity. It is your birthright. If other people choose to be offended or resentful, their state of mind is out of your hands. No reason why should take responsibility for it. The only thing you can control is your own well-being.

Kindest thoughts.

Community Member

I know how you feel re the family BS.

Book a holiday somewhere else, just the 2 of you. Problem solved (just for Christmas anyway)

Thank you very much for your kind comments Starwolf.

It's true, i really do consider everyone's feeling too much before i worry about my own. I have recently tried to take a step back from things, but family doesnt make it easy by trying to put me in the middle of their issues. And with Christmas on the horizon, theyve also tried everything to ruin what we had discussed in the past about plans for the holidays. I would love to go on holidays during this time but i am already made feel guilty for putting myself and my new husband first... let alone going away....

To be honest, my biggest issue is probably my mother. When i tried to tell her about my mental health problems i barely got a word out before she turned it around to be all about her, thus she is still unaware of the issues. She is a very snide, selfish, problem causing, inconsiderate, nasty person, which is a pretty big thing for me to say about my only living biological parent. I have spoken with my Dad's mother and sister of late and they have confirmed that the way i feel about my mother is not all in my head and they struggled with the same issues as i am with her when her and my dad were together. It was comforting to know that i wasn't alone in the way i felt.

Is it silly to think that your own mother is the worst person in the world? It was hard for me to accept for so long that she was a great deal of my issues but i'm not sure how to bring these things up with her or even how to mention that i am seeing a psychologist to help me cope... Obviously its only one of the many issues that i am dealing with but it does seem to be a trigger...

Look at me rambling on here! This forum is great! So much support!

Hi Kaitie,

What you have to say re your mum sounds familiar. I too grew up under the thumb of a mother who had many unacknowledged issues but -as is often the case- had much rather blame everyone else for them !

Thank you for clarifying the nature of your relationship with her. It would indeed make open, honest discussion fruitless. With some people, the best we can do is keep them at arm length, a self-protective measure. Because relationship with such people is toxic.

Growing up with domineering parents erodes our sense of self-worth and self-confidence. It often leads to unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We feel the urge to meet everyone else's needs...and feel guilty if we don't. So of course, our ability to find peace and harmony goes out the window. Patterns established in early childhood become well entrenched and are not easy to budge. Taking things slowly, one small step at a time will set a slow but safe pace towards recovery.

The thing is, this life wasn't given to us to be lived according to someone else's expectations. It should remain our own territory. Nothing wrong with telling trespassers to butt out. We're all different people with different beliefs and opinions. Our birthright entitles us to them. Being ourselves and fulfilling our personal potential is what it is all about. Of course it doesn't mean being self-absorbed, just taking good care of our selves and being able to care for others in a non self-destructive way. In the long run, there is no way we can keep caring for those around us if we feel emotionally out of whack.

Please feel free to keep rambling on. That's what these forums are for...giving a voice to silent suffering. It is a pleasure to chat with you.

Take care.

Hi and welcome

Ive had similar issues especially with my mother. Seems I could never satisfy her.

So 6 years ago my sister and I broke off all contact. Xmas and birthdays are now a joy. But I think there was a reason.

Google ...Topic: emotional blackmail, likely extreme BPD- beyondblue

It could be just good reading for you. It might make sense about a domineering mother

Tony WK