We don't chose our families. We can make the best of what 'is'.
BeenThere, I salute you for trying and caring. There is a point to move on and it sounds like you are there.
Someone inspirational to look at is Jeanette Walls. There is an article about her, her family, and her insight, here. (I loved the novel, 'Glass Palace'.) Here is a quote from the article: “So many people ask, ‘How could you forgive your mother for the way you were raised?’ It’s really not forgiveness in my opinion. It’s acceptance. She’s never going to be the sort of mother who wants to take care of me."
Well, don't forget that there are societal expectations too. It'd be great if there were Family Anon too and you could leave your parents to rot in their own filth without being judged by Adult Protective Services, church family, the neighbors . . . most of the BS I've run into regarding family has been well meaning neighbors asking just when we were going to put granny in a home. They were pretty darn gleeful at the retirement MHP when a distant relative caught her trash on fire and darn near burned the coach up and we finally all had to get together and put her in assisted living.
ReS-yes, others will judge a person who cuts off contact, but there is only so much you can do to help someone who is toxic, or refuses to save themselves. Unless you can get someone declared incompetent, then you have to get them to agree to be helped, and many refuse to do this. Even getting someone to give up driving is almost impossible, unless they agree.
There are several personality disorders that involve "rescuing".
As demonstrated by the originator of this thread, they tend to run in families.
I believe it's more a learned behavior than a hereditary "disorder". We learn by watching what our parents do and grow up thinking that's "normal". Fortunately, most of the time, it IS normal, or nearly so. Other times, there's a serious dysfunction in the family (like OP's), and when you grow up with that, it can take a lifetime to figure out "that ain't right". Kids growing up in such a family are often helpless to "escape" the dysfunctional family until they're adults. By then the damage is done. However...
What's learned can be unlearned. Painfully difficult -- I know -- but it can be done. I agree Al-anon is a good place to start -- whatever the "addiction" is.
Beenthere, I am very sorry for all you have been through. It's too bad they didn't euthanize the killer dog and pack him in the coffin with the SOB step dad if the guy loved him that much.
I've learned...the hard way...that there are true sociopaths out there who will lie, cheat, steal and kill to get what they want. They find the 'givers' and suck the life right out of them. You've done what you could do for your Mom and you have given her a clean, safe home, a companion to keep an eye on her and now it's time for you to take care of you. If she can't separate herself from the woman who is taking everything from her, and she refuses to listen to reason after so many years of trying to help her, it's time to just walk away from the whole thing.
Only you can stop this destructive cycle. You can't change people, but you can realize that you have lost too many years and wasted precious time trying to help people who won't listen. Life is too short to give it away to takers. I hope you will find a way to put all these toxic people behind you and find your happiness in people more like you: decent, honorable and caring.
Hugs to you, BTDT. I too have btdt. Haven't spoken to my mother in years. And am much happier for it! My dear old alcoholic mum allowed my dying father to live in filth, along with the lies, the enabling of my younger brother, the whole 9. So I sympathize. It sucks, but the sooner you can divorce yourself from it all, the better your life will be, I promise.
I spent the day figuring out how to repair my broken water pipe. I am so proud of myself. I got a pipe cutter, and the guy at Orchard explained I don't need to solder the pipe. They have stuff that looks like glue that solders copper! It was a really easy fix! I am hoping it's all good from here. The mare will check out pregnant tomorrow, I'll get a better car, the insurance company will be nice, and the school year will end well.
Just to go on with ThreeFigs, who was at the genesis of me figuring this out. It IS a learned behavior. Because of how I grew up, I never identified crazy. I just assumed people would snap out of it. I got screwed royally, mentally, horsily, emotionally, financially by a sociopath who was banned in this board. I DID NOT understand how someone could be like that. I never would have believed it. When I found that "normal" people in here saw this behavior and rejected it right away, it was a revelation to me.
After this incident, I was so depressed I cut off from everyone and lost 30 lbs in 2 months, I finally went to a psychiatrist. Only three times, but it was a revelation. She gave me a couple of gems that changed my life. She said I was not clinical, just depressed because life sucked. When I spent the first hour telling her about what I thought was my irrelevant family life, and how I tried to get the half siblings to stay in school and was screamed at, ha, ha, ha, and I didn't want to move away so there was someone there for my mom(to protect her I later figured out) ha ha ha, and how the family wouldn't come together, ha ha ha, she gave me a gem. My family was not normal, and way not healthy. Revelation.
She also told me the pain will never go away. It just fades and hurts less over time. Obvious, but essential.
That was he first step in figuring it out. It's been eight years, I think. Since then I have slowly cut out toxic nuts in my life. I found I was a magnet for takers. It helped me deal with the toxic parents at school. And, I think this is the last big step. Cut out toxic family. I will not lie it hurts like a mfer, and it's embarassing as hell to admit. But, I am working on taking Trakhener's invaluable wisdom. I will work on apathy. My energy needs to go to people who want it and deserve it. And I need to get over the embarrassment and just admit my issues, because so many people can help, and want to.
I'm not sure it is apathy but just the understanding that you will never be able to change that person. My mother will always create drama that will make her the victim, so I won't allow her that opportunity. When I listen to her complain about not seeing her grandchildren, I no longer get the urge to give her the opportunity to see her grandchildren-hence no more plane tickets. I just say "yes, it would be great if you lived closer but you don't". I don't remind her that the last time she saw them she couldn't leave fast enough and was miserable.
There are many painful things I have had to accept about my mother, I joke about having the "what not to do" parenting knowledge for my own children. But that is a good role model not to follow for me.
Second, al-anon would help, while you're not dealing with a substance abuser, you're essentially dealing with the same concepts and go through the same emotions.
My mom is an alcoholic, and it seemed pretty bleak (sp?) until a week before Xmas when I got my chance to put her in the hospital (technically she was dangerously low on potassium, but her ABC was .40), and after a week there, and being told they would just release her, because there was nothing they could do, they decided to move her into a nursing facility since she couldnt walk. She stayed sober, and was released a month later and stayed sober until 2 weeks ago, and essentially placed the blame on me. I told her our relationship was over, she knows if she drinks I won't be around her. NOT an easy decision. Too toxic for me, as she's a mean drunk and absolutely hates me when she's drinking. Always has, always will. She wanted me to be a submissive housewife, but I'm a very strong willed person and I definentely beat to my own drum, always have, which always irritated her. (I've had a long time and lots of therapy to figure out a lot of stuff )
In regards to certain posts, we wish we could be logical and emotionaless about the choices we have to make. But making the right choice can be gut wrenching, heart breaking, drop to your knees difficult. Mourn it, cry, let yourself have heart break. That's the only way you will come out stronger with your choice
My energy needs to go to people who want it and deserve it.
I believe that needing to feel useful is different than needing to feel appreciated both of which are different than BEING useful. They are intertwined so much that it's normal for us to minimize the distinctions, but without labeling everything a borderline personality disorder, needing/wanting a feeling for ourselves IS selfish compared to contributing without expectation of demonstrated appreciation.
I used to work at a cat sanctuary and, as I'm sure you know, cats tend not to show particular appreciation for cleaning litter boxes day in and day out. In fact, one or two regularly tried to attack me when I entered their enclosures. But that doesn't mean they didn't need me (or someone) to do the work I was doing, appreciation or no.
I remember reading that Mother Teresa didn't show the appreciation people expected of a "saint." She was stern and business-like and put off a lot of volunteers who wanted to help (or feel helpful?). And of course, we're talking Nobel prize-winning devotion to care for others, so it's a bit extreme. If she'd quit because she didn't feel like she was helping, making a difference, or feeling appreciated, she would be pretty much like many of the rest of us, who are not saints. But she didn't seem to balance what she did by how much she felt needed (based on external proof) and didn't give much attention to anyone else's thoughts on the topic, either.
I've been told that babies don't often show appreciation for all that their parents do, either
But it is worth taking a look at how we determine who "deserves" our time and attention. I suspect one reason toxic parents' behavior is so awful is that they resent not being appreciated for everything they are/do/etc, including by you!
I can imagine a parent being like "I am talking to you on the phone or have come to this meeting, but you better be grateful I'm taking the time out of my busy day to help you do your job as a public servant." and leading to some really outrageous behavior and comments on their part. [Which does entirely miss the salient point that you are not responsible for anything but formal education and therefore they should really be grateful to YOU for including them ... but that's another can of worms, eh?]
I think it's fair to be explicit in our expectation (hopes) as in: "if I do this, then you do that."
But it gets tricky when we don't recognize, much less acknowledge, this agreement we think should be in place. I have been doing this for the last few months with someone and struggling with my desire to be angry with her for disappointing me and the shadowy suspicion that I brought it all on myself.
In some ideal world we could separate people from their behaviors, acknowledge that we all have intrinsic value, accept that we are likely to be disappointed when we do things with expectation of return (of any kind), and not hold so tight to anger to justify or mitigate our disappointment.
It's just worth examining your own murky motivations because if you are disingenuous with yourself you are likely to miss the signs that you're doing it again.
None of this is to say that you are not responsible for your health and happiness and I'm firmly in the "YAY, YOU!" corner.
Remember that you are a unique and very special person but not alone in your struggles. I for one am shoulder-to-shoulder with you trying to work out my part in my own less-than-satisfactory relationships.
Some things are worth trying to save, because the potential is there for a positive outcome. My issue-ridden OTTB was worth saving. After three years, she can do great dressage with me, jump with me, and pack a barn kiddo safely around on trails. All this from a horse who did everything dangerous under the sun when I got her. How did we decide whether to continue? Because we discovered that all her issues were rooted in fairly easy to solve physical problems. There was nothing deeply effed up about this horse, she just needed some TLC and special attention to her back. She has repaid me many, MANY times for what I did for her.
Now, in your situation, you seem to have tried everything under the sun, but nothing is working. You don't really know the extent of the dysfunction, and quite frankly, it wouldn't behoove you to do so. There is no positive outcome, we've established that. The problems you DO know about are so difficult to fix that they aren't really worth fixing. Yep, if this were any other decision, I think everyone, including yourself, would have a far easier time giving it the "kill" switch, and having you just emotionally and literally cut ties with this situation.
Because it is family, there is all this societal bull shit that keeps you from (easily) doing that. You feel an obligation, blah blah. Fact of the matter is, it is still an inefficient situation- you put more in than you will ever get out. And it causes you intense emotional pain.
So get out. And make sure you FULLY get out, that way the leech (bwahahaha, I love that) can't come knocking on your door when Mommy's money runs out. It will suck, but it will be so, so worth it.
I have an odd, but mostly functional relationship with my mother, and I had to learn boundaries with my beloved grandmother (I love her to pieces, but I cannot let her slowly suffocate me). I have my barn family: the horses and the people who I am closer to than my real family. I have a few close friends outside the barn, and this comprises what I consider to be my family. People who actually care about me, and who I actually care about, the people who are there for me when I need it, and who I am willing to be there for when they need it, they are FAMILY. The people who I share a family tree with are RELATIONS.