Blogs


Notices

How do you protect your own heart?

Old 07-13-2008, 11:38 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
SistersHelp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 561
How do you protect your own heart?

Visiting my sister in her rehabilitation centre is so painful. She is abusive to me and always spends the entire visit trying to get money out of me and telling me how no one in the family supports her. She gets hysterical and yells and screams and cries at me. She does all this in front of her daughter who becomes frightened and scared and upset. It is so stressful that I can feel myself shaking and feel waves of nausea washing over me.

I don't know what to do.

I feel like I'm supposed to come to these visits so I can show my support, and so she and her daughter can see each other. But they're tearing me up. I can't bring my husband with me (they don't allow men on the grounds) and so I have no support to get through these visits. They're absolutely awful. I start dreading them as the weekend approaches and literally feel ill just thinking about them.

So what do I do? How do I get through this? How do I keep myself sane and protect my own heart while going through this week after week?
SistersHelp is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 12:10 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
*~10 YEARS BABY~*
 
Done_With_It's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Hollywood
Posts: 9,369
Blog Entries: 15
Originally Posted by SistersHelp View Post
Visiting my sister in her rehabilitation centre is so painful. She is abusive to me and always spends the entire visit trying to get money out of me and telling me how no one in the family supports her. She gets hysterical and yells and screams and cries at me. She does all this in front of her daughter who becomes frightened and scared and upset. It is so stressful that I can feel myself shaking and feel waves of nausea washing over me.

I don't know what to do.

I feel like I'm supposed to come to these visits so I can show my support, and so she and her daughter can see each other. But they're tearing me up. I can't bring my husband with me (they don't allow men on the grounds) and so I have no support to get through these visits. They're absolutely awful. I start dreading them as the weekend approaches and literally feel ill just thinking about them.

So what do I do? How do I get through this? How do I keep myself sane and protect my own heart while going through this week after week?

Why do you think you have to allow her to abuse you?

What do you do? If it were me, I would not go. So many times
people allow the addicts to take control of their world, walk on
egg shells, etc. Not healthy for you or for her.

If this is not working for you, change it. I would either set new
boundaries with her, not let her treat you like that, or if your
not ready for that, as I said, I would not subject myself to
that kind of treatment.

Just my opinion. I'm sorry you are having to deal with this.
Sisters are always a tough thing, I have one and I know how
it can be, always easier said than done.
:ghug
Done_With_It is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 12:20 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Forward we go...side by side-Rest In Peace
 
CarolD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Serene In Dixie
Posts: 36,741
Obviously...no one is benefitting from these visits.
Especially her daughter.

Sooo...perhaps it's time to let her consntrate
on her recovery without any visits.

You and her daughter could write instead.

Prayers for you and all your family
CarolD is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 12:41 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
SistersHelp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 561
Originally Posted by Done-With-It View Post
Why do you think you have to allow her to abuse you?
It's a tough question to answer, and complicated. My sister struggles with mental health issues (borderline personality disorder) in conjunction with her addiction issues. To make matters more confusing, she's extremely intelligent, perhaps a genius, and uses this big brain of hers almost exclusively for manipulating and controlling people. She knows that I won't engage in an argument with her in front of her child. And she knows that in the past when she has pestered me long enough, I have given her money (my mistake, to be sure). So since the tactic worked once, I suspect she feels it will work again as long as she raises the stakes a little higher, yells a little louder, and makes a bigger scene than the last time.

I'm torn. I want to show my sister that I love her and that I support her efforts at recovery. But at the same time, I don't believe she is actually recovering. She is still doing the same unethical things she has always done (ie: taking money from her child, pressuring and emotionally blackmailing me). And she's tearing me apart every time I see her.

If it was only my heart on the line here, I wouldn't see her again until I truly believed something was going to be different. But I'm worried about her daughter. Her daughter loves her very much and looks forward to seeing her all week, even though the visits always involve huge scenes and dramas. Her daughter wants to see her and a part of me feels it's wrong not to allow and aid that to occur.

It's all so confusing. I don't know how to cope with it all.
SistersHelp is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 12:55 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Forward we go...side by side-Rest In Peace
 
CarolD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Serene In Dixie
Posts: 36,741
How old is her daughter?
CarolD is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 01:17 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
SistersHelp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 561
Originally Posted by CarolD View Post
How old is her daughter?
She is eleven years old.
SistersHelp is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 02:05 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
Latte's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 2,392
Have you spoken to people at the rehab? The people at the rehab may be able to give you some advice.

Al-Anon may help you help yourself and care for yourself so you can be there for your sister and her daughter without losing yourself.
Latte is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 02:12 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
God's Kid
 
lizw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,820
Sounds awful

I have to echo what has been suggested and say no more family visits, for awhile. That doesn't mean ever, I'd suggest just missing a few then go back and see if her attitude has changed any and if it hasn't review it again. It sounds dreadful and it is not something I would do, put up with.

My mother does it with my younger sisters two kids. She spends 4 hours on public transport taking her kids to see my sister. My sisters not in a rehab though, just doesn't live at home. It's awful that she won't go see her own kids but then at the same time since she can count on my mum to arranging it all, she's got no incentive to, has she?

A wise man once said, "Nothing changes when nothing changes."
lizw is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 07:22 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
ladyamalthea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: My House
Posts: 1,122
Blog Entries: 12
Hey girl!!!

Your sister is trying to manipulate you. She knows her daughter will get upset, and that hopefully that will make you break down and submit to her. The more you give in, not only the more she wins, but the less reason she has to take rehab seriously, because she knows that as soon as she gets out, she'll be able to get whatever she wants out of you.

Please don't let yourself feel like you have to go see her. She's a big girl, and she has people there at rehab that care about her. She is not alone in this like she tries to tell you she is. In fact, IMHO, not seeing you may be just what the doctor ordered. Maybe it'll click with her that you're tired of her treating you this way. And if not, then she needs to be able to focus on herself anyway... because she's got a lot of work to do.
ladyamalthea is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 07:55 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 472
JMO I would not go to see her until she can be civil. The daughter is old enough to understand that the visits are not helpful. AH has been in prison for almost a year and I have yet to visit-I will not visit-I am not the reason he is there. He is in this 4th month of extensive rehab and thanks me for not visiting-made him realize he needed help. Maybe by your not visiting will make her realize she needs to get her act together.
Momsrainbow is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 07:58 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Living in a Pinkful Place
 
MsPINKAcres's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 7,545
Have you heard the phrase "Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes"

That can seem so harsh and difficult - but in truth - it can be one of the most loving things we can use to help everyone in these situations.

Sometimes the most healthy, supportive thing we can do for our loved ones is to leave them alone. To not allow ourselves to be a pawn in the manipulation, to say in the most compassionate way . . .

"It appears you are having a difficult day today, so I think I'll end our visit early today. I hope the next time the circumstances will be where we can visit in a healthy environment for both of us. I know that is what I would like, I'm sure that is what is best for your daughter and I'm truly believe deep inside that is what you wish for too."

I have had to say things like this in talking with my loved ones that are affected by alcoholism, addiction and all those other things that go along with these diseases. It is painful and heartbreaking but it does give everyone self-respect.

It especially can be a good example to the younger eyes & ears that are exposed to this that it is ok to have healthy boundaries and NOT accept unacceptable behaviors.

It takes lots of strength, courage, and wisdom to break this cycle - I'll be praying that your HP will help you to know what is best for you and for your niece.

Wishing you serenity & joy,
Rita
MsPINKAcres is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 09:16 AM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
SistersHelp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 561
I want to thank you all so much for these replies which will give me strength as we go forward with our plans to call a lawyer this morning and try to start proceedings to get legal custody.

Obviously, I am having trouble setting boundaries and allowing myself (and my niece) to be held hostage. I am going to work on that, and try to find the words to let my sister know we won't be visiting for awhile.
SistersHelp is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 09:27 AM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Professional Hanger On'er
 
wenchris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Way out of Town, MI
Posts: 103
Can you request the visits be supervised by rehab staff? They may give you some strength and help the daughter see that when the visit is terminated it is because the behavior "is not okay".

And you are right, alternate forms of contact may be best for awhile.

My best to you.
wenchris is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 09:53 AM
  # 14 (permalink)  
*~10 YEARS BABY~*
 
Done_With_It's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Hollywood
Posts: 9,369
Blog Entries: 15
My first thought was also, Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes.
It's almost like we as addicts are, we can find every excuse in
the book to use, she can find every excuse in the book to treat
you bad because she has a disorder, but what is the bottom line?
What is your bottom line?

For me? No one treats me with disrespect anymore, I don't allow it,
or I walk away...
When they do I take it out on myself, it interrupts my world, etc. etc. etc.
I don't care how close they are to me, or what the problem is.
If I am making excuses for them to treat me bad it becomes my
problem not theirs. I let myself become the victim.

I understand your dilemma with her daughter but on the flip side what
she sees? Is what you are teaching her.. So she is learning two things,
one that it is okay to treat people bad like that, and two that it is
okay to be treated bad.

Good for you for trying to get legal custody...

:ghug2

I can understand your confusion with boundaries, I was in
therapy for years because I let everyone cross my boundaries
and I didn't understand why I was always hurting....
It never made sense to me for the longest time.
Keep talking, etc.. Your doing great... and it's an
amazing thing your doing helping out your niece..

:ghug3
Done_With_It is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 10:38 AM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 427
I wouldn't put myself through that or her daughter. Maybe you could write her a letter and explain to her that her behavior is not acceptable to you or her daughter. The old saying "we don't know what we have till we don't have it anymore" may wake her up if you don't show up for her abuse.
I know it is hard, or maybe go without her daughter and when she asks you can tell her to her face. She may not realize how harsh she is being or she is just used to being demanding? She isn't afraid to hurt you...stand up for you!!! ((((HUGS)))))
beegee is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 12:30 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
grateful rca
 
teke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: atlanta, ga.
Posts: 4,671
hi, i understand how hard this must be for you, but i agree with the others. maybe you and her daughter can write for a while. good that you are seeking help in keeping the child and not allowing her to manipulate you by using the child.

maybe in a childlike manner you can explain to your neice that her mom is there getting the help that she needs and that it maybe be better for all of you if you didn't go visit so often and that you both can write her on the weeks that you choose not visit. also, if you decide to, maybe you could send cigs since thats her excuse for wanting money. just a thought, anyway i'm praying for all of you and a special prayer for your neice.
teke is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:48 AM.