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Fear, Anger, Guilt

Old 04-01-2013, 05:03 PM
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Fear, Anger, Guilt

Brother #3 has been contacting me in the past week and I've been mostly ignoring him. He sends weird and angry text messages, some that sound vaguely threatening toward my father but are rather oblique.

He only calls me when he wants something and it always ends badly so I've stopped engaging. It really is like a zombie has taken over my brother's body.

He called a few days ago and I let it go to voicemail, but later I listened. He had some kind of potential solution to his legal/financial issue with Dad and as always, was trying to draw me into it. I've tried to help them resolve this but always end up getting beaten over the head. I was proud of myself for the text message I sent in response which said "My emotional well being will not allow me to be the go-between in our family. Please find a neutral third party. I'm praying for both of you." He asked for another family member's phone number, which I did give him because that person does have a stake in the situation. Then I felt guilty for giving it to him and selfish for not engaging.

Dad mentioned this later when we talked over the weekend so apparently someone contacted him, but I told him I am not discussing this matter and that only get beaten up when I allow them to involve me.

Today brother #3 called again but didn't leave a message. He just did so again while I am typing this. Dad called twice also and I returned his call. (Things are decent with us at this point and I don't like to ignore his calls.) He said "#3 called me and said he is coming to my house but I will not be here."
I said "What does this have to do with me?" and he said "Well I thought you could call him and tell him I won't be here." I refused saying "Absolutely not, I am not calling him and telling him anything." He flounced off the phone a little angrily, of course.

I think what I'm feeling right now is fear, anger and guilt. Fear that my brother will do something bad, I don't know what. Anger that they are both so hateful and unreasonable toward one another, and that they continue to try and drag me into this. Guilt that I am refusing to engage. What do I feel so guilty?

I also get very sucked into thinking I know what will happen ... my brother has never shown any ability to be responsible and if he gets what he wants it's going to result in him probably making an even bigger mess financially for himself in the end.

I'm having a real step one crisis, I think. I know what happens when I engage, but the worry of what is going to happen next makes me feel completely emotionally drained.

I also want to just think hard about my own behavior and why they keep trying to drag me in when I've said that I won't be involved. It's because I'm not consistent enough, right? Because sometimes I slip and even discuss it.

I'm being a total codependent jackass. My RAB and I laughed last week about how easy it is to be patient when there is nothing requiring patience going on. It's the same with codependency.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:17 PM
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IMO, you handled yourself and this situation with such strength and clarity. Maybe the feelings you are experiencing are because this is fairly new to you and it feels uncomfortable?

I commend you and think you should celebrate your recovery by doing something for yourself....even if its just a special dessert. I don't see a "jackass" at all, I am seeing a beautiful butterfly.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:20 PM
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I agree with ((LMN)). So what, if you weren't consistent in the past? Most of us weren't. That doesn't mean that we can't be consistent, starting today!

Doing what is right for me has always brought about a sense of unease. I often go through the feelings you are describing. I tend to hold on to the old "comfortable" behaviors by my fingernails In time, though, I've worked through the feelings and found out they really DIDN'T kill me (was quite sure they would).

I think you're doing great, and ((LMN's)) recommendation that you do something just for you, is spot on.

What you are going through isn't easy, but there are many people here who are more than willing to walk through it with you.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:54 PM
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Thank you both for your support and kind words.

It isn't completely new that I refuse to engage, but something feels different. It is like I've made a more permanent decision about my role in the family and my own boundaries.

Originally Posted by Impurrfect View Post
Doing what is right for me has always brought about a sense of unease. I often go through the feelings you are describing. I tend to hold on to the old "comfortable" behaviors by my fingernails In time, though, I've worked through the feelings and found out they really DIDN'T kill me (was quite sure they would).
While these were some pretty bad feelings tonight, after reading what both of you wrote and taking a little time to think (I went to the gym) I realize I'm not feeling nearly as bad as I have in the past, even when I did get involved. Progress!

I'm in a new relationship and it's been really wonderful. I've focused so much on my family issues in the past that it got in the way of my ability to have a healthy relationship. I know that if I let the family issues take all of my energy, I won't have enough to be the kind of partner I want to be or have the kind of healthy relationship I deserve. That's not the only reason I'm working on this, but it sure ups the ante for me.

I'm starting to turn my phone off, or leave it at home. I've already stopped feeling like I need to respond every time someone manufactures a crisis if I'm not alone. I really want to be present and happy for the people in my life. But I was alone when this all happened.

#3 also called my Mom and did what addicts do. Then he called RAB and did what addicts do. What my Dad is doing is incredibly unfair and that part makes me angry. If I think too much about how unfair he is being the problem starts up all over again because I want to jump in and tell him so. I won't do it. It will put me right back where I started.

Thanks for being here, gang. It makes such a difference. And I will treat myself, too!
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:01 PM
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Sounds like Your dad is just doing what a lot of have done. Think of him as Ann or Kind Eyes before recovery. Hard to stay mad at them. Lol

Congratulations on your new relationship and more importantly taking care of you first.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by LoveMeNow View Post
Sounds like Your dad is just doing what a lot of have done. Think of him as Ann or Kind Eyes before recovery. Hard to stay mad at them. Lol

Congratulations on your new relationship and more importantly taking care of you first.
Unfortunately, it's not something any loving parent would do.

Much of my plight stems from wanting to protect my brothers from our father's cruelty. He's treated them very poorly in many ways our entire lives. Me too, but I always thought I could handle him better and that I was tough enough to take it.

Brother has good reasons to be angry, but his anger is toxic and he lets it consume him instead of finding solutions to his problems.
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:59 AM
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So I started thinking this morning about getting in touch with my brother and giving him some advice. Really, what Dad is doing is so very wrong, unethical even.

Here's an example of how Dad uses money against people: Dad once called and asked if I needed $. I said I was ok. He said "Are you sure? I never help you. I should be doing this for you." He indicated he really wanted to give me something. I finally accepted. Never was it mentioned as a loan. All the language indicated a gift and something that would make him feel good. Two weeks later he got angry with me when I stood up for myself to him. Within days he was demanding that repay him for the "loan" only the amount was twice what he'd originally given.

I honestly think he believed his own new perception of the situation. That he thought he'd "loaned" me twice what he actually gave. I emailed him and said I'd send him the money, but made it clear that he had never indicated he expected repayment. I never bothered to tell him he was off on the amount, I just sent him double what he gave me. Crazy, right? But Screw it. I'm not fighting over money with anyone, especially him. I could easily have proved the amount, but felt like he would go back in time to the days when he was giving me $ to help defray expenses while I was living with my brother to justify his new number rather than admit the mistake.

What he's doing to #3 is very similar. He gave him something, now demands payment for it though it was originally said to be a gift/repayment for help #3 had given him with a bunch of things. He keeps changing the terms. He now says he never got any help from #3. I had told both of them to just document an agreement. Put it in writing. Dad would never try to change terms of something he agreed to in writing. They ignored me, of course and now it's a mess. Dad does not even really remember his original offer. Now that he's mad, he's acting like he never made an offer in the first place. Brother has also continually changed his own plans and terms.

Another example Dad actually totalled #3's car but then said "tough. I bought it for him." He left my brother in a huge bind, then went and bought himself a brand new car. Brother will spend all of his days focusing on his anger about the car, instead of taking any time to resolve it. Dad offered to replace it with another car after I gave him hell about this. The car he wanted to give him wasn't good enough for my brother. Brother would rather be angry about this. This is the only connection they have, so sometimes I think the anger and hostility is a kind of intimacy. Fine line between love and hate.

I wanted to talk to my brother about this rationally, but he will not let me if I try. I'm going in a circle right now about what is morally right. If he'd let me I could get this resolved quickly. That's probably not true, but it's what my codie brain says.

This kind of injustice feeds my brother's addiction. He stays high because he can't face his own feelings. He's lived like this since age 15 when he was first introduced to marijuana. He is in pain. I liken his holding on to his anger to the monkey that cages himself but refusing to let go of the banana so he can fit his hand back through the bars. It's a very sad thing to watch.

While all these thoughts were swirling I was doing dishes. I broke a glass and it cut my wrist pretty deeply. Yeah, it hurt but I had to stop worrying about everyone else and take care of me. It will take some time to heal and will probably leave a scar. That can be my reminder to take care of me.

Stucna sent me a message about Buddha and not taking on problems that are not mine.
I really like that concept. When someone has a problem if I make it mine, I have not lessened the amount of problems in the world but instead doubled them.

I will do nothing. But am infinitely grateful that I can write about it here instead of acting on it.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:21 AM
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I actually have 2 friends (sisters) who a very similar dynamic but with no addiction issues. Learning to say "it's not my problem to solve" wasn't enough for me. I had to stop hearing it all together. When my one friend lost her "venting" friends, her need to be right was less important and powerful. I have seen some very positives changes in their relationship. For me, just my listening to all their "drama" was in still enabling their dysfunction.
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:12 AM
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So I left it alone. I did nothing.

Got a phone call last night that the situation is on the cusp of being resolved.
Not a request for help, just an update that good things are in the works.
See, they can do it without me!

Also, my older brother expressed confidence that #3 might enter into the same program that got him clean. I think his confidence comes from him realizing that if his life could be turned around there are possibilities that other things in our family could improve.

So instead of Fear, Anger, Guilt today I am feeling Strength, Hope and Faith.
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:35 AM
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Glad to know things have improved. You're on the right path, Hanna. Self change is extremely uncomfortable. Think of it like braces on your teeth....it hurts....we're trying to change lifelong patterns just like we're trying to move teeth into place that grew in naturally crooked. But the end result is worth it.

Keep working it. You're doing great.

gentle hugs
ke
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:02 PM
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Yes, I have been following this Hanna, and I think you are handling it remarkably well.

It takes time and practice for us to change....it takes even longer for those around us to adjust to the changes we made. But it won't take long before they "get it" and stop treating us in the old ways.

Hugs to you.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:09 PM
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Thank you both!

I am feeling the benefit of this work. There are definitely "growing pains" but it feels so good to see how much I'm learning and changing lately.
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