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Family Issues to do with problematic behaviour
I come from a large family of 9 siblings. Recently I have discovered that my oldest brother has serious bi-polar issues mixed with a real religious obsession for being right and supposedly having "divine" inspiration on any issue. His marriage of 50 years has just fallen apart...surprise surprise.
I also have 2 sisters with similar behaviours without the divine inspiration aspect, and another brother who disappeared for 10 years, has arrived on the scene, and has very obvious intense obsession about his own self importance. Whenever he calls, the total conversation is about himself, his achievements and how great he is....although much of what he says is somewhat inflated in actuality.
I have been very careful with my own behaviours and how I act toward others. I am seen as the "carer" or the most even tempered one by my other siblings, although I am one of the younger ones. I must admit, I am getting a little concerned that these behaviours could be catching. Is this paranoia on my part?? I'd be interested in others' comments
Hello again Quietall
No it wouldn't be "catching". Being the " caring" one, the one that is not self centred, is proof enough that you don't have the others symptoms
That from an unqualified view.
What I have noticed among other families...
A family of five siblings only one is gay and one has bipolar 1.
Yet I've got bipolar 2 and so has my sister. My brother (DEC) likely had it also. Yet our mother likely had BPD and if one googles "children of borderline mother's" very often those children have anxiety depression and bipolar issues.
So while you are siblings you are also individuals.
Sometimes we can over think these things. If you don't have symptoms and more importantly other people don't relay to you any indication of adverse behaviour, best you relax about it and continue to be that wonderful carer you are.
Much of the human race is self absorbed. Its one of the things that really annoys me, that people can only tell you of their thoughts, beliefs and problems but won't ask questions.
How often others have visited us, mentioned issues like a sore knee, they can't afford that jet ski just yet etc yet we are pensioners both with daily struggles with mental illness.
Ive resorted to the best method of dealing with it and that is to remind them that a good relationship is one whereby both parties ask questions. For with the absence of questions is the absence of care. I'd argue that those without care for others have a limited or terminal future with the mentally ill. This is because eventually we acknowledge a/ that we have limited ability to endure listening to others problems b/ that we have little time for others not having some capacity to listen to us and c/ we often put up fortress walls for self protection.
So I have my routine now, that if I have a friend ring me and he has a habit of being self centred, I limit my time with them. Only if they ask why do I tell them about their lacking empathy.
I was just going to bed when I saw your post sitting there by itself.
I'm going to tell you what you already really know, perhaps coming from someone else it might comfort - I do hope so.
While I don't think we have conversed directly I've seen your posts and you are sensible, thoughtful and someone I'd be happy to rely upon. You have a worry, based upon circumstances, its basically reasonable - though I think misguided - but not paranoia.
I can speak from direct experience about 'catching'. Attitudes, beliefs, self-esteem and emotional states can indeed be caught. I was posting to a gentleman earlier about the effects of police college on trainees. There, over the months their belief system, their emotional attachment and their actions are all modified in a hot-house pressure system. They do not come out the same. From what I know the military is more effective again, converting a desire to protect into a distorted world-view.
As a rational person you won't be caught up in it by the influence of your families' presence, unless I suppose you, though love or a sense of duty, immerse yourself in their lives to the exclusion of anything else.
I can't speak about hereditary, you'd know more than me. Having an enlarged ego is not necessarily relevant, and from the little I know there are some environmental factors and it is not a given that it will be inherited.
Whatever happens my friend you will still be you, and an asset to the world.
You have my esteem
Thank you for your responses. I had a lengthy discussion with my wife last night. She highlighted some instances where I do react on occasions by raising my voice. I acknowledged that but commented that it was only when I felt frustrated that I was not being listened to, or talked over, preferring to push her own views above mine.
I shared at length about how I want to learn about these behaviours more, so I can be more positive and constructive in my reactions and responses to my siblings, as well as being aware of symptoms when they arise in my own behaviour, so we can address them quickly before they get out of hand.
I feel somewhat comforted by your comments, though after reading up on bipolar behaviours, there are some similarities sometimes with the way I act or think. The erratic and grandiose behaviours have not yet crept into my repertoire, so far, touch wood.
Perhaps I'm oversimplifying but are not the behaviors displayed exaggerations of the norm, so one would expect to find them in more modest doses in everyone?
As I'm normally quietly spoken when I do raise my voice it has (though I blush to say it) a most satisfactory effect - though basically it just means I'm pissed.
I get the feeling you are too close to the problem - not surprising under the circumstances. If it were to happen - unlikely but I guess vaguely possible - you would still be you and would deal with it efficiently - I don't doubt that for a moment. It would just be another hurdle, and you can cope with those.
I retain a large selection of woods for you to touch as needed
Thanks Croix for your advice and comments. I have been a little quiet today, thinking over these tings and what we talked about last night. I feel a mix of being beaten up slightly over the last few weeks with what''s been going on with the siblings. I had to order one of my older brothers out of my house after he persisted in his verbal tirades at both me and my wife...I saw red as it brought back memories of my childhood where I withdrew from any confrontation as I was one of the youngest members, and therefore kept very much to myself to save being beaten up physically or mentally. So to react the other day and follow through with a very strongly worded email from me to him ,asking for an apology and suggesting he needs professional help to deal with his serious mental health issues, I felt a mixture of pride that I could do it, but also profound sadness, as I have really been trying to reach out to each of my siblings up this way to rebuild mature mutually caring and interested adult relationships with them and their offspring
It is good to share this info though I have been a little reluctant until now.
I relate. Making someone leave under those circumstances, particularly if one has a more modest nature, is a very big deal. Frankly it does not sound as if you had much choice in the matter though. Having a toxic presence in the home is not on.
I was discussing stubbornness and anger with Paul only a day ago and feel the occasional outburst of anger allows me to do things that I normally might not. - Useful.
As for reaching out - of course; however who were you reaching out to at the moment - the brother you knew or the angry semi-stranger currently in his body?
How often, when answering a post, have you told someone whose self-worth is zero and is apologizing for posting, that it is the depression talking, not them. Same here I guess - you are dealing with the disease, not the man.
In your position I'd feel pride in the accomplishment, sadness that your brother was not there to be brought close and very bruised by the whole event.
As I've gotten older the number of things I think I should deal with has shrunk, I'm no longer the rescuer or putter-righter of the world. Family however has to be defended no matter what.
May I say your actions and words show you are reasonable, caring and effective.
Thanks Croix for your encouragement. Given the current situation, I have been offered another overseas aid assignment for up to 1 year with my wife. She does not show any interest in going, and I think 1 year is too long but am seriously thinking a break for 3-4 months is a good move, so I can constructively use my skills to further the work I did there last year, and give the family dramas a break. It also gave my wife some space to renovate the home, build a brand spanking new kitchen, and reconnect with a range of her old friends. Whilst away I connected with her each day for at least 30 mins each morning and similarly each evening. I felt we talked more often then than we do when we at home 24/7
Sorry I've been at work since early today, just got home, so had not given you the reply I'd been mulling over from last night. Ok as you ask for comment I'll give it. I think you are mistaken if you go away at this time.
As I understand things you have 4 family members that are, let's say, difficult to get on with. You also have home renovations plus a set of mental ailments. You have 'discussions' with your wife, reacting to a your views being overridden.
You hint - pardon me if I misunderstand - that your relationship with your spouse will be ok with remote (i.e. you are not physically there) talk every day & that your spouse will catch up with friends & will do the renovations.
I am me, not the same person as you, do not know your family relationships and dynamics - or your relationship with your wife. I do not know what sustained pressure does to you - though you seem to have handled it pretty well so far. If it was me I might be tempted to decamp to maintain my mental equilibrium (but would not do so)
Again speaking for myself - with my family there is no way I'd leave my wife in that situation. You've had to protect her once already from one of the 4. Without a crystal ball who's to know your presence may not be required again at short order?
I could not exist on 2x1/2 hour sessions p.d. with all the lack of informality and spontaneity that comes from such regular contacts. Plus I think my wife would miss the comfort of my physical presence - no not talking about sex, but just my being around. If there are 'discussions' with views being overridden then constant face to face with good will on both sides might be the answer, not artificial distance communication where feelings tend to be held in check for the 1/2 hour.
I would not have thought her catching up with friends should require you to be absent.
I don't know the job you do overseas, its importance financially or its intrinsic worth. Again if it was me I'd consider postponing it if possible.
I freely admit my answer is both opinionated and probably not based squarely on the facts as you know them, so please bear with me and by all means tell me if you think I'm wrong. I have enough faith in you to accept whatever you say.
My best wishes whatever you decide