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Ah I feel like a ragdoll or something

Old 08-30-2011, 07:52 AM
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Ah I feel like a ragdoll or something

I am always working on my recovery and believe me, I get many opportunities to put it to work. I feel like if you try to live your life being a good person, keeping your side of the street clean and making healthy choices, you are completely alone. I don't even have my family to turn to because they don't even realize how sick they are. I don't really have a big family to begin with anyway. Most of my relatives are spread out and I'm only close with my mom and my grandfather and my grandmother has passed away a few months ago. I'm not close with my dad because he lives across the country, and I'm an only child so I don't have any brothers or sisters.

My grandfather has severe OCD, anxiety and depression. My mother is his caretaker and its sad but I'm afraid she is heading down that same path. She obsesses and compulses, calls me 5 to 6 times a day, thinking that I'm going to die or something bad is going to happen. She won't go get help. It really affects me because I feel bad ignoring her calls or cutting her off, but its the only way I can keep sane. I hate having that type of relationship with my mother. I want to be able to talk to her and have a normal conversation, but I cannot because she will immediately obsess over something irrelavant. Both my mother and my grandfather have no idea how bad they effect other people with their compulsions, they just do it anyway and everyone just has to "deal with it". Kinda like alcoholism..fun. Most days I ignore their problems, but it does get to me at times and I live away from them so thats good.

Its hard to turn to people my own age because everyone is so caught up in their own lives. I don't let that many people into my life anymore because I use to trust too easily and give everyone the benefit of the doubt and that did not work out so well so now I am choosy. When I set boundries with people and tell them I don't like something they are doing or not doing, they act like I am the worst person on the planet and they drop me as a friend. They act like I'm not a good person and have murdered someone and they want far away from me. I never feel bad for standing up for myself but people can be so difficult when you don't give them their way (and these are normies). I know they aren't true friends anyway if they do that, but it doesn't make me feel good either way.

I guess I'm just feeling like if you are someone like me that doesn't hate on people and try to use people or have a major disease, disorder or problem, you feel like you are alone because so many people out there are unhealthy mentally and physically and they are oblivious to how they effect everyone. I need some kind words or encouragement right now because I try so hard to not let other people's issues effect me but IT IS SO HARD when its all around you. Its really hard for me to feel grounded anywhere. I'm so trying to search out people and places where I can feel "safe" from the unhealthy whirlwind that tries to suck you in out there. Its alot easier said than done however. Thanks for letting me share my feelings today!
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by duqld1717 View Post
I guess I'm just feeling like if you are someone like me that doesn't hate on people and try to use people or have a major disease, disorder or problem, you feel like you are alone because so many people out there are unhealthy mentally and physically and they are oblivious to how they effect everyone.
My old sponsor told me a long time ago that we live in a dysfunctional world, and I see that more and more every day.

The only people I really trust are the friends I have made who are also in recovery.

I totally understand where you are coming from when you talk about feeling alone.

I don't have a large extended family either, and my parents/older brother/both daughters are dysfunctional with no program of recovery for themselves.

It does get to me some days, to be honest!

Sending you hugs of support, dear!
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:38 AM
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I can relate to you. Until I started attending Al Anon and continued to go to the meetings I felt very alone. I don't have people my own age that I can turn to, but I have found some ladies in Al Anon that even though they are 10-20 years older, I get along with them great.
Your mom and my mom sound exactly alike! From time to time I'll receive a phone call in the morning, she's frantic, been crying and says I had this dream that something bad happened to you.
Through Al Anon I am learning to not react to people around me. It's extremely hard not to since that is what I have known to do all my life! I have the tendency to get sucked in and take others problems on. A couple weekends ago at an Al Anon meeting, I heard something simple that really stuck with me. QTIP .... quit taking it personally. When I feel myself getting sucked in, QTIP comes to mind and I repeat to myself what it means.
If you're not attending Al Anon, I highly suggest it. It was uncomfortable for me at first, and sometimes still is, but I am learning a new way of life that is much better than how I was living.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:39 AM
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Oh duqld I feel the same way, lately I have felt very very alone... could have written most of this post.

Its great to realize almost everyone is insane - it means YOU are becoming saner!!

Yesterday I realized how much negativity goes around me and I thought- I did not notice before, because I was very negative too.

It means we are changing, now we can "see" others more clearly...

HUGS...
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:51 AM
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i can't help but think that these meetings, etc are making you people turn on your own relatives! a phone call from your mom just because she had a bad dream and it upset her does not mean she is insane for god sakes! it happens to eveyrone... i am beginning to think these meetings are designed to make you put down eveyrone in your life just to make yourself feel better. i'm not getting is i suppose.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:15 AM
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I too used to feel alone and think that the dysfunction in my original family was unusual. One evening at a gathering of friends we were talking about a sit-com and how outlandish the characters and the situation were in the show. Someone commented that "they could never make a sit-com about my family, it would be too unbelievable". One by one, almost everyone at the gathering agreed with that statement. I remember the relief I felt when I heard this conversation. (Up to this event, I had no knowledge of craziness abounding in any of their situations.)

This memory, pre-AH by the way, stuck with me for all these years and I don't recall a similar feeling until I went to Alanon.

Please don't stop giving people the benefit of the doubt, even if you get hurt from time to time. And please give yourself the same benefit. I think the alternative is a hard heart, and I would rather have a heart that stings from time to time than one that feels nothing. (I've been there.)
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by breakingglass View Post
i can't help but think that these meetings, etc are making you people turn on your own relatives! a phone call from your mom just because she had a bad dream and it upset her does not mean she is insane for god sakes! it happens to eveyrone... i am beginning to think these meetings are designed to make you put down eveyrone in your life just to make yourself feel better. i'm not getting is i suppose.
Wow, Breakingglass... this post hits me so hard this morning!! I was driving to work and thinking about how I have changed and evolved since starting my recovery. My initial reaction to recovery was EXACTLY what you described! I shut down BIG time. I was so hurt and raw, and AWARE of the dysfunction around me that the only solution I could see was to eliminate those people I felt most vulnerable around - which was essentially my whole family, and AH's!!! And, well, if I'm being honest, alot of my neighbors, and friends... and co-workers. There was no one but my Al-anon buddies that I could talk to!

With my heightened awareness, I could spot the effects of alcoholism in just about every person around me!! HOW FREAKIN' SICK and SCARY!!!!

What I am learning today is that those these people may have behaviors/behaviors/whatever that I don't agree with or like, but as my recovery grows, I am able to detach from their "stuff" and interact with them in a manner that respects us both. I'm learning that I can have a relationship with my mother - it just can't/won't ever be that fairytale mother/daughter relationship that I see in the movies!

Thanks for letting me share,
Shannon
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:29 AM
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Thanks everyone for all the support! Today is a better day. I hate those days when the walls feels like they are closing in on you and everyone is out to get you! I guess now that I am becoming healthier and removed my rose colored glasses, I am able to recognize unhealthiness around me in a big way. I do see beauty in this world from time to time but I wish I could see more of it. I'm glad that I see things the way they truly are instead of seeing things the way I wanted things to look-so much saner way of living when you can recognize a problem and you can just smile and move away from it rather than beating your head against the wall trying to fix it or make it better. People can be whoever they are and it has nothing to do with me and I love that feeling. I am able to live my life and be able to interact with people and have relationships (even with unhealthy family members and friends) and not let their issues put a dent in me whatsoever. Everyone in this life is a little unhealthy in some way, the trick is just being able to navigate around it because we can't cut out everyone! I am thankful that I have been blessed from my HP with this recent higher awareness about life that sometimes takes people years and years to grasp.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:20 AM
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you don't say how old you are and how old your mom is...but you did mention being an only child..sometimes parents are more fearful if we only have one.

and I could not help but notice in reading your postings that you chastise your mother for being one way, but I see a lot of similarities in your behavior from what you have written.

not everyone is OCD or crazy because you catch them on a bad day...not everyone is "unhealthy", it is how you perceive them. most folks are just normal, working through a bad economy, dealing with the death of a parent or spouse (as your mother and grandfather are, you might want to cut her some slack, she is a caregiver for her parent, how would YOU deal with it?) and getting through a work day.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:27 AM
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I'm so glad today is better for you Duqld1717!! Your recovery shines bright!!
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by breakingglass View Post
i can't help but think that these meetings, etc are making you people turn on your own relatives! a phone call from your mom just because she had a bad dream and it upset her does not mean she is insane for god sakes! it happens to eveyrone... i am beginning to think these meetings are designed to make you put down eveyrone in your life just to make yourself feel better. i'm not getting is i suppose.
When I first started recovery, I did put up nice, big, strong walls around myself. I was too raw, too hurt, too unstable to allow myself contact with anyone I viewed as dysfunctional, so I only had contact with my therapist and the members of my Al-Anon group.

As time progresses, and I have gotten stronger, first I started putting in windows in that wall, picking the happy bits that I wanted to look at. Then I started leaving those windows open to actually participate in some of that. Now I have been putting in doors, that actually open.

This morning I had a wonderful conversation with my mother. And by conversation I mean the real kind, you know, that you read about and see sometimes in movies, where both people are listening to the other, and then both people contribute to the same topic, and everyone is interested in what's being said.
Wow.
I haven't had a real conversation with my mother since... I don't even remember. Usually it's her going on and on about her day, her news, waiting for me to say "yes" or "no" or "I don't know," asking an obligatory question about me and then announcing that she has to go before I can answer it.

We talked about nail polish, cell phone minutes, weekend plans, and seeing the good in life, even in a bad situation. We talked about how as time progresses scientists keep changing their mind about things, what's the best way to sleep, vaccinate or don't vaccinate, dietary health, the proper way to breathe. We talked about my brothers going back to school, and how they're growing up so quickly, and memories from when they were little. We talked about driving routes, road work, politics, the future. I talked about purchasing a bicycle, she offered my old bicycle next time I visit, we talked about cargo space in cars, advances in technology, kayaking, computers, hybrid cars, and hiking.
And I listened to her, and she listened to me.

And this is because I have been working on my own recovery, and I have been setting up my boundaries, way too strong at first but gradually pulling them down in places and redefining them in others to suit where I am in my recovery right now.

Nobody is perfect, not even me. I accept that, and I understand that, and I protect myself from the insanity that I do not wish to deal with. If I am not emotionally stable, I will not answer the phone when she calls, because we will repeat the old patterns and fall right back over the cliff. I am teaching myself that I do not have to answer the phone whenever it rings (a hard habit to unlearn, due to XABF's habits of redialing and the progressive nature of his verbal assaults in voicemail when I didn't answer).
If I am in an emotionally stable state, with time to talk, I will answer the phone, and as long as the conversations continues in a healthy manner, I will participate. Because now I am strong enough to notice when it takes the unhealthy turn, now I am strong enough to keep the conversation positive (when possible) or remove myself politely from the situation (when it takes a downward turn that I cannot halt).

When building an archway, the easiest way is to close off the entrance until the arch is set where it needs to be. Once that archway is in place, and the cornerstone has been added, the extra support is not needed, and the archway can be left open for those who wish to pass through, because the structure will stand, and it is stronger than the support it was leaning against.
But try building it without blocking off the entrance first, and you are in for a world of struggle!

It's like trying to build a dam with the river rushing through. Certainly it's possible, but if you have the ability to slow the current, divert the water, or build barriers to keep the water or current away from the portion of the dam you are currently building, wouldn't that be easier? Then when you're set, and the boundary necessary has been built, the current can be allowed to flow again in that area while you move on to work on the next one.

When dealing with my relationship with my family, I had to stop the emotional current for awhile and figure out my boundaries before I could allow the current to flow again. Now I recognize the things I can and cannot control, I can maintain my own control over my side of the relationship (at least mostly, I still slip sometimes), and I can have a productive and fulfilling relationship with my family because of this, because I recognize their capacities and abilities when it comes to functional/dysfunctional relationships, and I merely remove myself when it turns dysfunctional and wait for things to settle down before resuming.
This could mean extracting myself from a telephone conversation, or when home for a visit simply playing in the driveway with my brothers or driving to a friends' house when my parents' house is too tense.

But I wouldn't have learned this without removing myself from a relationship with them completely until I could define myself separate of their influence, and set up the boundaries that I felt appropriate, and the escape routes that were the most effective while remaining polite.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by breakingglass View Post
i can't help but think that these meetings, etc are making you people turn on your own relatives! a phone call from your mom just because she had a bad dream and it upset her does not mean she is insane for god sakes! it happens to eveyrone... i am beginning to think these meetings are designed to make you put down eveyrone in your life just to make yourself feel better. i'm not getting is i suppose.
This is a great post.

For me at least I started working my recovery to deal with the issues I had with myself when dealing with my AW.

As I have worked through my recovery, living in the moment, letting go, paying attention to my thoughts words and actions I began to notice that I was beginning to use these tools more skillfully as a way to monitor and correct my own self defeating behaviors and I was feeling much better.

This tools are so awesomely useful. I am much more centered and when I do get wobbly I know now how to recognize and correct it.

This has led me to noticing how many people could benefit from what I have learned here in sr and al-anon. It is not a criticism or an abandonment on my part. It is just noticing how life is. I also notice I enjoy being around people with this same skill set much more than I enjoy being around people who don't.

I truly expect as I get better at using my tools that I will still notice the difference but it will stop being an issue and I will be able to enjoy everyone just as they are. Oh well, progress not perfection.

Your friend,
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:15 AM
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i understand removing yourself from situations/people who might not agree with your new found mentality... to keep away from alcoholics and those who associate with them. understandable on every level....but to alienate your family/mother/father or siblings because you think they all have mental problems is like calling the kettle black.... after all you are the one in theropy seeking help becasue of the person (A) you choose to be with. forgive me if i sound harsh or if you think i'm stupid or naive or something but i'm not ready to diss my family or my friends of 45 years just because i decided to marry an A and deal with his dysfunction...... my friends and family are perfectly fine in my book and i love them all. i would/could not take it out on them.... i could not break my mother's heart. and i think most people in the real world know that there is no such thing as a fairy tale mother/daugher relationship. does that make any sense to anyone here??
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by breakingglass View Post
i understand removing yourself from situations/people who might not agree with your new found mentality... to keep away from alcoholics and those who associate with them. understandable on every level....but to alienate your family/mother/father or siblings because you think they all have mental problems is like calling the kettle black.... after all you are the one in theropy seeking help becasue of the person (A) you choose to be with. forgive me if i sound harsh or if you think i'm stupid or naive or something but i'm not ready to diss my family or my friends of 45 years just because i decided to marry an A and deal with his dysfunction...... my friends and family are perfectly fine in my book and i love them all. i would/could not take it out on them.... i could not break my mother's heart. and i think most people in the real world know that there is no such thing as a fairy tale mother/daugher relationship. does that make any sense to anyone here??
Ah, I think I'm getting it. Do you feel that other people's happiness depends on you?
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by m1k3 View Post
Ah, I think I'm getting it. Do you feel that other people's happiness depends on you?
not sure where you would assume something like that.... no, i feel more like you all should stop psychoanalyzing your family and freinds because of YOUR choices. you are reading WAY more into this then i intended to express. i simply think that maybe these support groups teach you to disconnect not only to your A significant but to everyone in your life and analyze them like they were all nuts or something! i dont want any group (cult, whatever you choose to call it) to push me away from my loved ones. they are my strongest support group...not some bunch of stangers who think they know me.

now go ahead, psychoanalyze me....i know you want to!
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by breakingglass View Post
not sure where you would assume something like that.... no, i feel more like you all should stop psychoanalyzing your family and freinds because of YOUR choices. you are reading WAY more into this then i intended to express. i simply think that maybe these support groups teach you to disconnect not only to your A significant but to everyone in your life and analyze them like they were all nuts or something! i dont want any group (cult, whatever you choose to call it) to push me away from my loved ones. they are my strongest support group...not some bunch of stangers who think they know me.

now go ahead, psychoanalyze me....i know you want to!
Actually I don't. You see my recovery is focused on me. I really don't worry about how other people think or act. That is part of the illusion of control. I can't control people, places or things. All I can control is how I choose to react to what is happening around me and my attitudes. That's it.

Detachment is a simple term for letting go of trying to control others whether its your A or anyone else. Once you detach it is much easier to accept them for what they are and not try to change them. They will change only when they are ready to change.

That one little step can remove so much suffering from your life.

As for the cult thing. I used to serve in the US Marine Corps. That was most certainly a cult. Al-Anon, nope, doesn't feel like a cult. Especially when every meeting I have been to closes with "take what you want and leave the rest".
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by breakingglass View Post
no, i feel more like you all should stop psychoanalyzing your family and freinds because of YOUR choices. you are reading WAY more into this then i intended to express. i simply think that maybe these support groups teach you to disconnect not only to your A significant but to everyone in your life and analyze them like they were all nuts or something! i dont want any group (cult, whatever you choose to call it) to push me away from my loved ones. they are my strongest support group...not some bunch of stangers who think they know me.

now go ahead, psychoanalyze me....i know you want to!
I think it's great that you have healthy and supportive family.

Unfortunately, I and many others are not so lucky. My choice to marry an alcoholic didn't just happen randomly. My father was an alcoholic and compulsive gambler. I learned how to be a good codependent from my mother, aunt, and grandmother, who were all married to alcoholics. The fact that I grew up thinking dysfunction was normal life led me to repeat the same dysfunction in my own adult life.

Because I recognize it now, I am able to follow a different path and set different examples for my children. I see that as a positive, not a negative. And yes, I do avoid dysfunctional situations and interactions with my FOO on a regular basis. This is my life after all, and I do have the right to choose how I spend it.

And FWIW, I never went to Alanon meetings, so there was no "cult" involved in my recovery, lol. Once again--my life, my doing what works best for me.

L
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:54 AM
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Oh my, in no way when I wrote about my mother or grandfather did I say I intend to alienate them. My grandfather has been diagnosed with OCD and I feel my mother may have it as well. My mother calls me everyday, not just once in awhile, about 5 or 6 times about her compulsions and I can't always feed into it because its very draining, so I have to distance myself at times-but in no way do I alienate my family. I would never chastize my mother, but I feel like she may be headed down that path. I plan to to help her deal with it if she does have it, and I also will need to set boundries for myself because ocd can be very draining for everyone involved.
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:03 AM
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I think I see what you are saying breakingglass.

I notice a couple of things since I started reading here, embracing the principles of al-anon, and being more self aware.

1) I waaaay more readily identify 'healthy' people. People that have it together. They are really shining to me now where before I think i was a little to self absorbed and confused to really pick up the details. That has been one of the biggest gifts and I'm slightly fascinated by those people. I wish I could be around them more.

2) I see others that I think could use a little SR and I leave these people alone. I just put my recovery to work and be pleasant and happy and what not. I also am beginning to be able to identify behavior that is toxic and a little abusive. At the very very least very exhausting. I've been around it all my life and have always internalized it. I just felt bad, angry, less then, tired, confused at times. I consider it another gift of recovery that I can analyze a person or situation and see if it is me or if it is them being toxic and abusive. That line has not been there before. I need more recovery to draw the boundaries I think a really healthy/recovered me would have with this person but I'm getting there one tiny step at a time.

Sometimes relatives really are crazy
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