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When family say they "care" but push you towards depression

Discussion in 'Family, Friends and Relationships' started by Shannew, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Shannew

    Shannew Chat Pro

    I'm trying so hard to fix my life and I feel like I've come a long way. I had a painful breakup after which I had my first suicide attempt but I survived and decided to work hard to make sure I never attempt again and it was going great.. until the people who are supposed to care and support me the most are being the biggest assholes.

    First, my two cousins who are married - A and B. When my ex broke up with me and I attempted, I was in a dire situation, I had to reach out to someone and at the time I had conflict with A and B but I remember A saying if I was ever in real trouble to call him.. and I had never needed someone more than I did at that moment. So against my instincts, I called him and to my surprise he drove right over to my house and A and B supported me and gave me hugs for days while I cried about my ex and my life. Everything was great I thought the tension was completely gone. I had to go back home after a week and by this point me and my ex decided to be friends and he invited me over to talk/ hang out. He ended up getting mad that I was texting "other guys" took my phone and among a lot of other juvenile shit, prank called my cousin and said I was a slut and a cheater (which I'm not).

    So after this A and B have been completely ignoring me, ignoring my calls and messages for the last 3 weeks. It makes me think that A) they're immature assholes who have forgotten how to speak english and B) that their love is conditional, more specifically it doesn't exist in the face of a 20 year old malicious prankster. A also told my mum that "I'm doing bad things at uni and she should make me come back home." So he also went behind my back and is talking shit based on the opinion of a scorned ex boyfriend without even talking to me about it first. Also this became a domestic violence case against my ex, and he knows it and he didn't even bother to ask ME what actually happened or explain why he is mad or even ask me if I was okay. They're just completely ignoring the situation after they said they love me and they'll always be there for me.

    The second issue is my aunty and uncle. They have been fighting with my parents for years but I see their children as my own siblings (I spent everyday for 6 years with their son). I tried to reconnect with them a few weeks ago after a year of them not talking to me. I first tried calling, my uncle picked up the phone and upon hearing that it was me he hung up. I called again, no answer. So I thought i'd just visit them anyway, so I went over, they were shocked to see me but invited me in. Their excuse for hanging up "we were in the shopping centre and couldn't hear you." I sort of laughed it off and went to play with the kids. They invited me to stay two nights after that so I thought I had won them over. When I had to leave my aunty hugged me and insisted I come more often.. so at this point I definitely thought all the tension between us was gone. I promised my cousins I would visit again in a few days as well. Its been two weeks, so I messaged my aunty asking if I could come over today. She said they're visiting a friend and they'll be home late. Its 9am. Who visits someone for 10-12 hours.. even parties don't last that long. So I said, "thats okay what about tomorrow? (Sunday)" she said "Tomorrow we're not going anywhere but we're still busy :D." WITH THE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE SMILEY FACE. Also she doesn't work on Sunday and what would a 11 year old and a 6 year old be busy with? I replied with a nice message saying I understand and I'll come another time and to tell the kids that I miss them and NO FREAKING REPLY.
    This might be a case of simple miscommunication but I'm really sick of her two faced shit.

    I'm trying to be a proactive, interdependent, morally correct person right now. Even though my instinct is to never talk to these people ever again, its against my aim to create bridges and not burn them. I was thinking of visiting them both tomorrow and talk things out in a nice, calm and understanding way.

    It just sucks how I'm the suicidal one needing the most support and I'm trying to be mature and kind while they're acting like assholes and not even caring about my wellbeing..

    Does anyone have some words of wisdom or support? Thanks :)
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  2. Ash600

    Ash600 SF Creative SF Supporter

    It's seems that your cousins, A + B are shallow, and have minds which can be easily manipulated which I'm sure I've already talked about in one of your other threads.
    The issues with your aunt and uncle, the fact that you have mentioned that they have been fighting with your parents over the years means that sadly you and your younger cousins are the innocent parties here and have been caught up right in the middle of this feud. It probably demonstrates the sheer pettiness and superficiality of it all when you show up and are welcomed by your aunt but given the cold shoulder and not even afforded a decent enough excuse when you attempted a planned visit.

    The behaviour of both your cousins and as well as your aunt and uncle probably demonstrates their true nature. The fact that you are the one who is trying to be proactive by taking the initiative in attempting to mend bridges speaks volumes about the goodness of your character which is something which I hope you will never change. The thing is though, is not to allow yourself to be lowered to their level of assholery as it's just not worth it. You are on the morally higher ground here, and if or when they come to their senses they will realise that. But for the moment, you need to ask yourself, "how much do you really need these type of people in your life?" if this is the way they are going to behave. Should they change their behaviour and outlook then all well and good as then they can join you on your higher level, but for the moment, maybe just be civil to them and keep on being yourself .

    I am sorry that you are surrounded by these types of people Shann, especially at this period of time when you need that warmth and support to help you get through these troubling times.
    I really do hope you will find it but just remember, we are all here for you as well, for whenever you need.

    Take care.
    Shannew and Karmitkurmit like this.
  3. Karmitkurmit

    Karmitkurmit King of the Hedge SF Supporter

    Hello Shannew, I hope you're doing a little better today (whatever time it is where you are; I'm gonna go with Aus??). It was great chatting with you last night; I know you're hurting at the moment but you have such a bubbly personality that shines through the pain it is rather inspirational, even if you can't see it yourself. Hold on to this no matter what. Life is a series of ups and downs, twists and turns, but don't lose who you truly are in the process. Obviously we learn and grow as we get older but our base character remains the same; all too often, however, people (including myself) try to alter this character to suit those around them and in reaction to various experiences. Ultimately, not every person in your life will have a positive influence and not every experience will be uplifting, but provided you set and maintain your own values these 'bumps in the road' will not make you stumble but rather teach you to be more sure footed and stronger. Life is just one giant lesson so don't shy away from these negative interactions in yours, instead try to gain insight from them and add it to your arsenal of knowledge.

    On that note, I know you're studying psychology and although I am certainly no expert, I have taken a keen interest lately thanks to my counselor. I have a few book recommendations that may help you within your academic or personal life, as they have me. You might have read some of them already through university, but if not then they're well worth a look and have helped me immensely in understanding people and how they act in situations such as the one you're experiencing now-

    The first would be "The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fu*k" by Mark Manson. The title and some of its contents are slightly satirical, obviously, but it's actually quite a refreshing take on the theory of not avoiding negative experiences in our lives. I've said it a few times before, that mental pain is very similar to the physical. Our bodies are constantly trying to tell us something about what's going on and what needs to be dealt with. If we break a leg and ignore it then the lasting damage can be disastrous, so the pain forces us to deal with the break in order to not allow it to affect us adversely in the future. Mental pain is no different, except that society has taught us to hide it away and simply "think positively". The heart ache and pit of the stomach feelings we get are there for a reason: to tell us that something is wrong and needs addressing. By ignoring these perceived negative thoughts we are only prolonging the torture. Instead, we need to face them head on and learn from the experience, as you are doing now by reaching out for advice and support.

    The next few books would be "How to be Human", "A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled", and "Sane New World" by Ruby Wax. She's an actress, come comedian, from the nineties who has been a long term sufferer of mental illness and now has an OBE for services to mental health. The books are a very down to earth look at these issues and fun to read rather than simply preaching like so many other authors do.

    My final recommendation is one you probably will have read, it's "TA Today" by Ian Stewart. It deals with Transactional Analysis and is based around Eric Berne's theories of this psychology/counselling method. It's the type of therapy I am having at the moment and is extremely informative regarding personal relationships with people in your life, including friends, family, and intimate partners. In particular, I concentrate on the Ego States, Drama Triangle, and Time Structuring. By learning more about the theory behind the attitudes of people and interactions, I have started to slow my own reactions down and evaluate each scenario carefully before responding. In this way I have managed to avoid many conflicts and in fact have turned many of them into positive experiences. I was always skeptical about psychology until I needed counselling myself, and now I am forever recommending it to everyone I can. I am so excited for you to be studying this topic, it's something I wish I'd done, and I hope it will not only provide you with a rewarding career, but also help you in your personal life as well.

    Right, I'll attempt to get back to what you actually posted about rather than my atypical waffle :rolleyes:. Ash has really hit the nail on the head here, a cracking reply, but I'll throw my tuppence worth in anyway.

    Firstly, what your ex did was nothing short of atrocious behaviour and is quite simply controlling and immature. You don't need people like this in your life so I would highly recommend steering well clear of him. You have a fantastic career and life ahead of you, don't waste it on people who clearly don't want what's best for you. The fault in this respect obviously lies with him, but the responsibility of how to react to what was said lies with A and B. Whatever has gone on between you in the past was put aside when you needed them, but that's where it should have stayed. They should have spoken to you about the incident without passing judgement before they knew all the facts. I've had an experience akin to this whereby a family member of my ex was feuding with me over something nonsensical until my dad passed away, whereupon he became very supportive. Very quickly afterwards, however, he reverted back to the feud at a time of extreme grief for me and prevented me from moving forward. Some people are like this; they hold grudges and no matter what you do they just can't seem to let go for the greater good. I would definitely recommend they read Mark Manson's book, it sounds like they need it. What was the original conflict about, if you don't mind me asking? Is it something that you could talk to them about openly to clear the air once and for all? They certainly shouldn't have involved you mum without speaking to you, and I would suggest this is just a diversionary tactic to take the focus away from them and absolve them of their responsibilities to uphold a promise they made you. Have you spoken to your mum about this and, if so, what was her reaction? Perhaps give them a little time and space to reflect on the situation, but as Ash said they may just be shallow people. Keep them in your life, obviously, but focus on you and show them what you're capable of. Take the mature stance here (adult ego state) and show them what a responsible person looks like.

    Regarding your aunt and uncle, what made them stop talking to you for a year? Is this an unresolved issue that needs to be aired or is it linked to the feud with your parents? By the sounds of it when you turned up unannounced you forced them to face the problem rather than hiding away from it as they have been doing. They too need to act responsibly here and appreciate that the children should come first; it's not their fault and they shouldn't have to miss out on your company because of adult pettiness. In this scenario they would be considered as being in their child ego state, and so deal with the issue by looking the other way and pouting rather than taking a more adult perspective and talking to you openly. Also, does there 'cold shouldering' coincide with the attitude A and B took? Have they spoken about this behind your back as well? If I were in the same situation I wouldn't let it come between me and my siblings, so I think you handled it beautifully by showing maturity and courage to face them head on. It is definitely something that needs to be dealt with thoroughly though, as in the long run the only ones suffering are the kids. Is this another thing you can speak to your mum about and get her input and support? They may genuinely have been busy and I hope it does turn out to be a simple misunderstanding but, whatever you do, maintain a level head and approach this logically rather than emotionally, for the sake of your relationship with their children. Be the responsible adult when all others seem to be acting so childishly. Fill us in on a few more details about the existing feud, if you want to, and it may give a little more context allowing for slightly more tailored advice and support.

    Don't lose sight of who you are. From what I can tell you are a very passionate person and are simply trying to maintain healthy relationships with your extended family. Whilst you may be hindered by past issues out of your control, do not be disheartened and never give up on you. Recognise your strength and worth, be proud of it, and let yourself shine for the others to see; you will inspire the ones worthy of your time, and put shame to those who aren't.

    I'll stop there before I bore you so much you end up face planting the keyboard; but we're here and listening if you want to talk some more.
    Take care and huge {{{Hedgehugs}}} to you.
  4. Shannew

    Shannew Chat Pro

    Thank you so much ash for the support and kind words <3
    You're absolutely right, this is their true nature and I probably can't do much to change it except show them my good character and hopefully make them realise whats most important in life.. eventually. I've also thought about this and it seems the main problem is my aunty. I've always been told she was manipulative and two faced but in the 11 years that I have known her only now do I realise thats exactly what she is. So even though I'm going to act civil and kind around her, I definitely do not respect her as a person and will keep my distance, but keep interacting with her kids because as you said they are the innocent party. Thanks again for all the help my friend, here for you guys as well <3 :)
    Karmitkurmit likes this.
  5. Ash600

    Ash600 SF Creative SF Supporter

    Been there myself with certain family members. Glad that you have come to that conclusion as not only does it protect yourself, but just as importantly maintains your good character as it seems that you will not let yourself be poisoned by the toxic influence of others.

    Be strong and keep on being you, my friend:)
    Shannew and Karmitkurmit like this.
  6. Shannew

    Shannew Chat Pro

    Hi Karmit thank you for such an insightful response!
    So happy to hear you're and avid reader! I love that book by Manson and ill try to read the others you have suggested! Right now I'm trying to follow "the 7 habits of highly effective people" by Stephen Covey which I highly recommend if you're interested.
    You're right about my ex. I've thought about it and initially I was going to try and talk to him in the coming weeks but I think he has a lot of child like tendencies and no respect for other people and this kind of thinking is hard to change even with my amateur psychological techniques :p. I mean he was also very kind to me and got me out of the fully suicidal state but that was when he thought of me as a lover. Some guys aren't capable of having close friends that are women and I'm guessing he's one of those people.
    But also it always pains me to see people completely leave my life so maybe I'll give it a year or two and see how I feel then. Hopefully he would have matured a bit and seen the error of his ways and learnt how to appreciate the good people in his life.
    Yes, I think with my family most of them have a child like disposition and react according to their emotions before their logic and values. Which I admit I used to do too until I went though so much pain because of it and I had to change to protect my life and I'm still changing and trying to improve, I know becoming mature and self-aware is a life-long journey. I will be sure to give them a copy of the book for Christmas though :).
    The previous fued with my cousins was that about 6 months before this all happened, I was having another depressive episode and I told A about how I was feeling and he told me to come live with them for a while, for as long as it takes for me to feel better. He was even talking about me permanently moving to stay with them and going to uni from their place. After about a week, they randomly kicked me out saying that it was dangerous for me to stay at their house late at night while they were at work and it was better for me to stay by myself at my old place. I couldn't argue with that so I went home. Then a few days later I heard that they were letting a friend of theirs stay with them. So they basically kicked me out to house this friend of theirs, when they knew I was still depressed and feeling lonely. A couple of months later A messaged me and I told him why I was mad at him. He denied everything saying that I was too sensitive and that I should just forget about it and I should hang out with him that night, but I refused because it seemed like he wasn't acknowledging my feelings or realising what he had done wrong. He got mad that I didn't want to hang out with him and dismissed me angrily.
    I agree they shouldn't have told my mum. I think this happened for three reasons. 1. they wanted to embarrass her for being a bad mum in their eyes as they have a fued with her, 2. they actually believed what my ex was telling them, about me being a slut and a cheater and 3. they don't see my mental illness as an illness but rather a fault in my character and they genuinely don't think I'm capable of anything in life. The latter really makes me mad because I have achieved more in the last 5 years than they have in their whole life, I just choose not to tell them about any of it because I don't want to boast and I feel that family/friends should support you no matter where you stand in life. Thankfully my mum knew about all that was happening and understood that i'm not as hopeless and they tried to make me out to be and didn't force me to move back home.
    Everything my aunt and uncle do is because of their hatred for my mum I think, including moving far away from us and cutting off all contact from me and my mum. I have never talked to my aunt seriously about any of these matters and I think because of this reason she still sees me as a child rather than a 21 year old half way to being a clinical psychologist. I hate that they cut me off from my cousin when he was 6 years old. He used to cry so much every time I left their house to go home now he's 11 and has seemed to forget all about me and the connection and love we used to have. I feel like I have suffered more than anyone else in this situation and my aunt and uncle never had the empathy or common sense to see the pain from my end. The fact that I took the initiative to came back after such a huge fued, risked my relationship with my parents, travel almost 6 hours there and back and spend $80 every time I go specifically to mend the ties, on top of the 5 days of full time uni and 20 hours of volunteering I choose to do a week, and they purposefully don't even give me the time of day, just irks me. But of course I can't tell them this or they'll say "well if ur so busy don't come."

    I just get so disheartened because I'm already suffering so much because of my own mental health issues, and a lot of people in my life are so ego-driven and show little to no empathy in these situations and very rarely want to act mature or aren't in the headspace of continual personal development and developing self-awareness - making my life a lot harder. But I know that if i want to live this life these are the challenges I'm going to have to overcome and learn from and sometimes that takes longer than a couple of weeks or a couple of months.

    Thank you so much for the advice, support and comfort my friend! I will never lose my true character and personality and will keep on working hard to improve! Please "bore me" with all that you can! Your advice really helped me today and I hope I'll be lucky enough to be able to receive it again!
  7. Karmitkurmit

    Karmitkurmit King of the Hedge SF Supporter

    I think you may be the first person I've recommended it to that's already read it! :) I'll add your book to my ever increasing reading list. I try to read bits at a time and then take my notes to my counselling sessions as she helps me to avoid coming to biased conclusions and to see the actual meaning in the text.

    Unfortunately it is often in our darkest times that we truly find out who our real friends are. It is very difficult for some, including myself, to remain friends with an ex partner so I wouldn't take it to heart. You are obviously a very loyal and compassionate person, but it's not the same for everyone. I don't think it's just guys, it is more about people wanting to move forward and sometimes that means leaving the past behind completely. I've never forgotten any of my previous friends and partners but neither have I stayed in touch with them. I actually connect with women far more than I do men, as is evident by the fact most of my posts are to women here and indeed most of my SF friends are female too. I put this down to being brought up by my mum and sister primarily, but for others it may be different. This isn't necessarily down to his character but he may just feel more comfortable with male company or those women that he hasn't had a relationship with. Keep your values in tact but recognise that other people have their own that may clash with ours, but neither is right or wrong. Values do tend to change as we grow, however, so this isn't to say that he won't be a part of your life forever, it may just be a case of time playing its part.

    I agree with giving it time and certainly you should concentrate on yourself and not let the actions of others define you, but try not to put a time limit on the process. I do this a lot and it just means that we don't let go of things that are out of our control anyway. You have a wonderful outlook on life and a beautiful character so don't lose sight of your amazing career to come and those things around you that you can change for the better. Be you and proud of it, exude confidence and those people who are meant to be in your life will be naturally drawn to you; those that aren't you should remember fondly with no grudges or regrets, but nothing more. I believe we all have limited time and space in our lives for a select few friends and loved ones, so we shouldn't waste it on those that do not wish to accept, but rather allow those that truly care for us to enter our lives and make their mark on our souls. I struggle to achieve this myself, but learn from mine and others mistakes and don't linger on those that aren't necessarily healthy for you; I have spent so long chasing dreams and it has cost me dearly, when all I needed to do was enjoy my time and let life come to me. Focus on your studies and close family for now, but primarily focus on you.

    If and when you study the ego states, remember that we all use each one (parent, adult, and child) regularly and they are not always considered negative. Our child state, for instance, can be selfish and petty and is often seen in people having a 'tantrum' or sulking, but it is also responsible for our playfulness and joy in simple things. It is indeed all about self awareness and knowing which state we are in and reacting accordingly. We can't change another persons state and would be wrong to do so, this is controlling, but we can alter our own to a certain extent and you'll often find that other people will naturally meet you half way in their own adult state, which is when conflict is best resolved and healthy relationships formed.

    I'm sure you realise that by extending their hands to help you only to snatch them away again at a vital time in your life was worse than if they hadn't helped at all, but try not to let it play on your mind. The fault is with them in that past, but the responsibility of moving forward from it now remains with you. Don't let a grudge or bitterness define your future. It's easier said than done but is key to being able to recognise what is better to spend your time and energy on and what is not. Definitely read the Mark Manson book again. I try to regularly and find it helps me weed out what matters and what doesn't, what I can change and what I can't. Also, it is great to refer to the Serenity Prayer at moments like these. I'm not religious but it still holds true; I just change God to grace.

    Many people don't see mental illness as being anything more than our fault, but that is quickly changing thanks to places like this and people in the public eye increasing awareness; hence the reason I recommend Ruby Wax books, and also watch her podcast with Russel Brand (I'm not a huge fan of the guy but it was intriguing). You are also making a huge difference bu sharing your story and studying the field. You will go on to help so many people and without even realising it you will change the world. I wish I had studied something similar, but I'm glad my suffering has led me here so that I might pass on my experiences and hopefully prevent at least one person making the same mistakes. Don't shy away from telling people your achievements, shout it from the rooftops! This is not boasting, but proving wrong those that would belittle you. Practice here first as I and others are keen to hear all about your studies and future plans, then take it to these people in your life and show them what you're made of. It may just be the catalyst needed to rebuild the relationships with your family. Also, don't allow their beliefs to shroud what you know is true about yourself; if you say you're not what your ex accused you of being then that's certainly all I need. If they were willing to believe the comments of a relative stranger over their own blood then more fool them.

    Their feud with your mum should not be your concern and it is very immature of them to drag you into it; your mum, however, seems to recognise this and good on her for supporting you. Try and build on this bond with your mum as she may need it as much as you do. Good things often come out of such suffering, but it can be difficult to see them. I don't know what your relationship has been like with her historically, but this could be a great time to reconnect on a whole new level and show your combined strength and loyalty to those that can't move past a petty feud.

    Why can't you tell them this? It is about the delivery of a conversation rather than the content. This is only my opinion, obviously, but I have regretted so many times that I have kept my mouth shut, and even more so those times I spoke out but didn't think it through. You have already shown the initiative but perhaps like your cousins they don't realise how mature you are and what you have achieved. I would definitely consider speaking to your mum about this as she will have a far deeper insight into the ongoing feud, and you may be able to come up with some solutions between you that will benefit all. Your young cousin will not have forgotten the bond between you; kids are great at moving forward with their lives and just want to live in the moment (as perhaps we all should as adults) but you'd be surprised at what they retain. My 'step' son (my ex's boy who I consider my own), once told her that I give him "balance" in his life! He was six at the time and I was utterly taken aback at how someone so young, who had only known me a couple of years, could appreciate the emotional meaning of the word and use it in the correct context. Don't give up on him as I'm sure he hasn't you.

    I know how you feel but that's what we are here for. Get all of your frustrations out to us and try to clear your mind to be able to better cope with those around you in your personal life. As I said before, use these experiences within your studies; not only will this help you rationalise your own issues but it will also increase your levels of empathy exponentially and will ultimately benefit so many people in your future. Having said that, don't hide your issues from your family either; be proud of who you are and show them all that you can be comfortable in your own skin no matter what. They should be inspired by your example, not ashamed of it. It does indeed take time, but I think you are well on the way to a fantastic future; just hold on and know we're all here for you when the going gets tough.

    You are more than welcome and utterly deserving of any time I can give, I'm glad you found it useful. Every generation has their legacy, and I sincerely hope that it will be yours who will bring mental health into society's view point and finally rid it of the stigma that has surrounded it for too long.

    Stay safe darlin' and keep posting as and when you want or need to. :)