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Anyone else's family have this dynamic?

Old 12-07-2015, 08:03 PM
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Anyone else's family have this dynamic?

I'm the oldest child and my younger brother is an addict. My dad was too although he's somewhat in recovery, except for his massive codependence with my brother. My grandfather was an alcoholic so there are generations of dysfunction. I've always been really independent and responsible (mostly) because my parents have always been somewhat undependable. I learned to be self sufficient and not depend on them for anything. It's really bothered me though that because I'm so self sufficient my parents basically won't do anything for me. I havent gotten a birthday gift in years. They have started helping me with my dog but i realize its only because they love the dog themselves and they complain about it all the time. I guess im lucky they do that and I do appreciate it. At the same time my brother is completely supported by them because he can't hold a job. He pays no bills and is totally irresponsible. I've realized that in my family it seems that unless you're needy you don't get anything. Its like this sick codependent need and if i dont fulfill it im useless. To me that seems kind of backwards. Shouldn't I be rewarded for being accomplished and able? I remember my dad made a remark once that "you don't need me for anything." Yeah because every time I talk to you you complain and when I needed reliability, dependability, and guidance you weren't there. Why is that my fault? I'm the child. Can anyone relate? Is there a name for this dynamic?
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:22 PM
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Hello Ap052183, and pleased to "meet" you.

Originally Posted by Ap052183 View Post
.. I've always been really independent and responsible (mostly) because my parents have always been somewhat undependable....
My parents were completely undependable, so as a child I ended up being the only responsible person in the family.

Originally Posted by Ap052183 View Post
.. I've realized that in my family it seems that unless you're needy you don't get anything. Its like this sick codependent need and if i dont fulfill it im useless....
That does sound extremely co-dependent to me. In a backwards way I think it may be a compliment to you. If they are _not_ doing things for you it must be cuz you are too healthy for them.

Originally Posted by Ap052183 View Post
.. Shouldn't I be rewarded for being accomplished and able?...
That only happens in healthy families. "Toxic", or "dysfunctional" families don't do that.

Originally Posted by Ap052183 View Post
.. Can anyone relate?...
Totally. That is exactly how my family operated.

Originally Posted by Ap052183 View Post
.. Is there a name for this dynamic?...
It sounds to me like the "hero" role. There's a lot of "roles" that us ACoA's get into. The one where the child acts like an adult while the dysfunctional parents are off in la-la land is the "hero" dynamic / role.

In many dysfunctional families peeps had more than one role at the same time, or they changed roles over the years. They're not set in stone. Have you browsed thru the "stickies" at the top of the forum. There's a lot of good info there that you may find useful.

Mike
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:44 PM
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Yes, sadly, I can relate.
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Old 12-08-2015, 06:18 PM
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The parent that helps the troubled child happens in all family dynamics. I think the troubled (adult) child drives the parent into a frenzy to "fix" that child, and doesn't have the emotional strength to see how it affects the rest of the siblings. Add that to a dysfunctional family dynamics and it blows out of proportion even worse. As a parent myself I can see how that would happen, and hopefully I won't experience it. But I can see how it would happen.
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Old 12-17-2015, 07:12 PM
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Although two of my siblings spent 8 years in college and threw a lot of keggers, all of us are actually reasonably independent and responsible. But I do still see the difference clearly. My parents have at times been generous with all of us, and yet--with clear differences.

My mother grumbled and groused endlessly about being asked to babysit once a week for one sibling's children, for the space of two or three years. Then the Golden Child had children and she insisted on doing full time daycare, 45 hours a week, then wanted to take on the second child. And she can never stop raving about how wonderful it is, and loving every second of it.

I can't even imagine how cutting that has been to the first sibling, who was treated like an inconvenience and groused about, and the grandchildren in question--even though they're quite nice kids.

My parents have always worried and fussed over Golden Child and Golden Child's Spouse, about how hard it is for them to make ends meet--even though they both have good, full time jobs and at the time had one infant. One of them had to have a new vehicle every other year, things like that, but my mom did the full time day care for free because life was soooo hard for them.

I, by contrast, was raising a very large family, including two with some special needs, on XH's so-so income and my part time income, and I never heard a word about how hard life might be for us. In fact, I heard a lot about how I wasn't quite good enough as a mother--Golden Child, of course, is perfect and wonderful and raising fantastic, amazing children! ;-)

Not that I wanted help--we were fine--just that there was a curious contrast in how she saw things.

To be honest, I really don't worry about it. I prefer to be independent and stand on my own two feet, because I long ago realized that the 'help' can also quickly become puppet strings. I really realized that when I stepped away after several abusive incidents, and was ordered to come to pick up my Christmas check. XH showed up for his and the price was a lengthy lecture about what ingrates we were.

It was a lot of money I didn't get that year (or any years since--in fact, it adds up to quite a lot). But I've never missed it. My kids have a roof over their heads and food, and I'm grateful to be free of that fear AF had created in me that I needed his money, which kept me tied to the dysfunction.
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Old 12-31-2015, 04:49 AM
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Yes, I can relate to the dynamics you describe; like you, I became self-sufficient from an early age. When I was younger, I resented the fact that the really troubled/addicted siblings received all the favourable attention - but in later life realised that this was a poisoned chalice which served only to keep them enmeshed and locked into a very toxic game.

I went to a boarding school, which I hated at the time, but realised it had actually sheltered me from some really dangerous stuff. I guess through personal therapy and Alanon I've come to appreciate myself and the life I carved out for myself - and my family aren't really part of that. I also realised a LONG time ago that I was going to have an awfully long wait if I wanted my mother to appreciate my achievements! (And didn't bother!)
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Old 01-01-2016, 11:35 PM
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Oh boy can I relate. My father...functioning, abusive, raging alcoholic. My mother...Co dependent, depressed, victim and occasional drinker. My sister...bordeline personality disorder, abusive and an addict. So here I am, growing up the "A student", complying, adjusting, surviving in this crazy house. No one ever knew I existed.
I'm fiercely independent, insecure, not confident in decision making, and most times wonder if I'm doing it all wrong...no roll models, no support, no love. The squeaky wheel always wins. It sucks, and sometimes i wish I had parents who were involved. Sometimes I wish they would tell ME what I should do..give me advice, but no, I made my own choices. I'm 43 now and sometimes still feel like a scared child. I get it.
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Old 01-22-2016, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mamaof3boyz View Post
Oh boy can I relate. My father...functioning, abusive, raging alcoholic. My mother...Co dependent, depressed, victim and occasional drinker. My sister...bordeline personality disorder, abusive and an addict. So here I am, growing up the "A student", complying, adjusting, surviving in this crazy house. No one ever knew I existed.
I'm fiercely independent, insecure, not confident in decision making, and most times wonder if I'm doing it all wrong...no roll models, no support, no love. The squeaky wheel always wins. It sucks, and sometimes i wish I had parents who were involved. Sometimes I wish they would tell ME what I should do..give me advice, but no, I made my own choices. I'm 43 now and sometimes still feel like a scared child. I get it.
Oh my how I can relate! Although I'm a few years older, not many, but at 43, I had very recently cut ties with my family over their continuing abuse (and my father making it clear it would continue because I'm the problem child--supposedly). I had just divorced my husband for very good reasons. It helped a lot to remove myself from all of it, and although I still have bad days, overall, I feel better most of the time.
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Old 02-27-2016, 07:29 AM
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Your family dynamic sounds very similar to mine. My father is or was or is an alcoholic. My parents split up about 10 years ago. I'm the oldest of 3 from them. I was about 23 when the split occured. My brother is 1e years younger than me and my sister is 15 years younger than me.

While the split between my parents was my mother's choice. She blamed his alcoholism for the reason she cheated on him (excuses). Growing up, my mother did a fantastic job at hiding the truth from us before the divo
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Old 02-29-2016, 12:27 PM
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Absolutely! I mostly forgot about it until reading this though lol. My sister had everything from cars to furniture to houses supplied for her by the whole family. I got billed for my own school fees in high school. She could crash them, burn them, walk away from them ( cars and homes if they were not nice enough) and leave them as someone elses problem and no one said boo to her. As a teenager I essentially decided that everyone figured she needed the help, and I didn't. True or not, it is the best way i can feel about it.
It turned into more of a blessing the older we got too because of how enmeshed she was...is. I hate seeing how hard it is for her to try and figure out boundaries now, and looking back I can see how hard that feeling of obligation must have been for her and how much it dictated her life. I am 37, she is 42.
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