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Show ALL Forums  > Off Topic  > Turning my back on a family member............      Home login  
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 Discerning Virtuosa
Joined: 6/10/2008
Msg: 1
Turning my back on a family member............Page 1 of 2    (1, 2)
I feel guilty about turning my back on a family member that has the potential to be quite toxic in my life. She is a sister diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia a long time ago. She left home when I was a baby and I never saw her again the whole time I was growing up. I went to visit her with another family member a few times over the years. She is really bad, highly delusional, very poor hygiene, and I've seldom seen her have a lucid moment. I'm 47 and she is over 60, has failing health, abused drugs and alcohol and has rarely stayed on her medication unless she is institutionalized. I was abused and beaten for years by my mother and the older sister is now the spitting image of her. I don't have money to give her, and I am struggling with the time and energy to put into my own career. This afternoon she somehow found my phone number and I knew it was her. I told her she had the wrong number. I feel awful. She is being cared for regularly in a nursing home now. I try to be a good person but have ended becoming a doormat for troubled people in the past.
Any consolation?
 Vagabond1975
Joined: 10/1/2009
Msg: 2
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 3/24/2010 12:56:22 PM
healthy...

why do you feel guilty..?
is it because this is something that sisters don't do..?

I think it's healthy to stop contact with anyone that does you harm, emotionally or what ever level..
family or not..

I too distanced myself from people that are not healthy for my being..

I don't know what to tell you on how to stop feeling guilty, but you said it yourself more or less..
you don't want to be a doormat..
keep that in mind
 meoMy1
Joined: 1/12/2009
Msg: 3
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Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 3/24/2010 1:10:01 PM
Don't feel bad. You have to take care of yourself before you can help anyone else. Maybe you can talk to the nursing home people and ask if there is anything you can do to help without any direct contact with her?
 m14shooter
Joined: 10/2/2009
Msg: 4
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Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 3/24/2010 1:28:18 PM
I have a mother that is psycho that I am stuck caring for. She is filled with venom from her marriage and insists on every conversation going back to her bad marriage and my bad childhood. Her husband dumped her on me and she has no place to go as she gets less than $500 a month from SS. My blood pressure goes through the roof when she dredges up the past and shot up to almost 200 last night after listening to her for 3 hours. She never brushes her teeth (over 15 years as she says she is allergic to tooth paste) and stinks up the entire house and is just a evil person that sucks the life and happiness out of everyone she touches. Sadly she lives with me and has ruined my life. There is probably no chance at any love life for me either with a psycho mother that lives rent free in my paid off house

Don't feel bad just be glad you don't have to deal with this crap every day of your life. Don't help this person just leave them alone. I know what yo are talking about and if you can keep it out of your life do it. Whatever you do never let this person in your home. Blow her off and forget about her ad don't feel guilty or be guilted into helping her.
 Singleinlewistonidaho
Joined: 8/25/2009
Msg: 5
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 3/24/2010 1:51:48 PM
Tell her she can use salt as a tooth paste.

Mike
 Alli_oop
Joined: 6/30/2009
Msg: 6
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 3/24/2010 2:05:06 PM
I would try not to feel guilty. I'd feel the same way as you if I were in your position.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 7
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 3/24/2010 2:09:53 PM
don't feel bad. If you're not a trained mental health professional, you wouldn't know how to properly deal with someone like this anyway.

hey, I feel sorry for her too but she's not your problem.
 chameleonf
Joined: 12/22/2008
Msg: 8
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 3/24/2010 2:21:44 PM
You know that she's being cared for and beyond that, there's nothing you can do that would assist an irrational, medically diagnosed individual. Sometimes we wish things could be different but when they're not, we have to learn to walk away, guilt free, for our own peace of mind.
 Super Ryan
Joined: 9/15/2007
Msg: 9
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 3/24/2010 2:48:56 PM
I agree there is no point in bringing her into your life. From what you have written, your sister has severe mental health issues, and since you do not have a strong relationship with her or a background in medicine, there isn't much you can do for her.

I would however suggest you send her a card on her birthday and a small gift for Christmas. It would only cost you $20 a year and could do wonders for her outlook on life. Just don't include a return address, maybe get a P.O. box so she can write back.
Include a small note telling her you are thinking of her and hope she is doing well. Don't include details of your life, and don't harp on what she should be doing to get better (she has doctors for that).
Not only can this help your sister, it might also do wonders for your guilt.
She is your sister, but you do not owe her your happiness.
 MissMarpole
Joined: 3/2/2010
Msg: 10
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 3/24/2010 2:56:23 PM
You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty for. You don't owe her anything just because she is family. What did she ever do for you? You can feel compassion for her, feel sorry that her life turned out so bad, but end it right there. Schizophrenia in extreme forms such as she appears to have is a very nasty disease. It will destroy her (as it appears it already has), and she would destroy you given the chance. She probably wouldn't even realize it because her brain is so messed up. Walk away. Get an unlisted phone number, and forget about it.
 Brandie60
Joined: 12/27/2008
Msg: 11
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Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 3/24/2010 3:11:38 PM
Don't turn your back on her, just love her from a distance. Ryan gave some great advice about sending her cards, etc.

Best wishes.

Brandie
 Discerning Virtuosa
Joined: 6/10/2008
Msg: 12
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/24/2010 10:50:40 AM
It's strange this thread popped up in my forums this week. My sister died Wednesday.
 ToThySelf
Joined: 2/26/2010
Msg: 13
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/24/2010 12:06:01 PM
Did she physically abuse you or are you just uneducated to dealing with schizophrenia? Sad really ...
 Discerning Virtuosa
Joined: 6/10/2008
Msg: 14
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/24/2010 1:56:58 PM
Did she physically abuse you or are you just uneducated to dealing with schizophrenia? Sad really ...

Yes it is sad, but your insults are even more so.
She was 16 years older and ran away when I was a baby. What should I have done for her? Do you think I could have her living with me chain smoking, swearing, and yelling around my piano students, parents and young children?
Whether or not I am an expert on paranoid schizophrenia or not I could not have prevented her heart & kidney disease. How would destroying my life help hers?
My mother made her what she was, not me. My mother destroyed a large part of my life & I have all I can do to hold everything together professionally, financially, and even medically.

For those who think that someone who is highly delusional can't hurt you, in Grand Rapids a young father working up here was stabbed to death by a man who was paranoid schizophrenic about a month ago, went on the run, & made it to someplace down south where he was found. They are not harmless. I worked for a mental health agency in my twenties, was attacked a couple of times while the supervisor did nothing, & I also know that they can be very manipulative.

I did put up with physical and psychological abuse from my mother for 18 years. I don't see how putting myself in a position where my sister could pick up where my mother left off, is really going to help anyone. My sister-in-law looked in on her from time to time going into some parts of town that were not safe. She would bring her food and other supplies & I would also send some things. Sometimes she would yell, scream, and threaten my sister-in-law - the very person that was helping her.
 SaharaM
Joined: 4/9/2009
Msg: 15
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Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/24/2010 6:00:35 PM
I'm sorry about the death of your sister.

I hope you are at peace with whatever decision you made about your interactions with her.

You had a lot of power in very small choices, and the things that you did do to improve her quality of life (helping with supplies, just interacting with her) were no doubt much more important to her than they seemed to you.

She is at peace, and I hope you are too.
 Byrd
Joined: 7/19/2004
Msg: 16
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Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/24/2010 8:35:23 PM
I'm very sorry for your loss. My Sister is that way too. In fact were all wacked to some extent. Your Sister is at peace now and you should not feel guilty. We all have different journeys to take in this life. Your Sister was unable to survive on this planet anymore, it's o.k. she is at peace. Blessings..
 06mc69
Joined: 8/31/2009
Msg: 17
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/24/2010 8:50:57 PM
I am sorry for your loss. As for your original post, you have no reason to feel guilty at all. I could tell you some horror stories about my ex stepfather, whom was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and we, as in my mother, me, and my siblings, almost died one night because of him. My mother was married to him for 14 years, and that was 14 years too many. The day she finally divorced him was the day I danced, and danced, and danced.. It took him beating her up while she was sleeping, almost killing her, and was starting on us too, to finally call it quits. I do sympathize with you, and you are not in the wrong for wanting a normal life. Others have given good advice to love her from a distance, but now that she has passed, be at peace with yourself..
 Kranck
Joined: 11/30/2009
Msg: 18
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/24/2010 9:58:41 PM

You have to take care of yourself before you can help anyone else.

yes

you know that she's being cared for and beyond that, there's nothing you can do that would assist an irrational, medically diagnosed individual.

yes again

What should I have done for her?

nothing, you had a higher obligation to yourself

How would destroying my life help hers?

Exactly.
Sometimes guilt is a false accuser. Guilty feelings can be irrational, misplaced. And sometimes they’re a mixed-up schmozzle of sadness, pity, grief, our own helplessness and-so-on…
 452
Joined: 11/1/2009
Msg: 19
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/24/2010 10:51:46 PM
First of all family or not you don't have to allow anyone into your life.If you feel that she is too draining,and more then you can handle,then you have every right to not have her in your life. I also have a schizophrenic aunt and I just can't deal with her,the things she does and says and the drama she causes.I do realize that it's not her fault though and that she has a legitimate illness.
 Montreal_Guy
Joined: 3/8/2004
Msg: 20
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Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/24/2010 11:19:11 PM
Sorry for your loss.

You have the right to protect yourself from being damaged by other people's actions, and that includes your family members - if it's at a certain level. If things can't (or won't) change, then the only other choice is to get dragged down with them into a place you do not want to go.

And that's not healthy.
 ToThySelf
Joined: 2/26/2010
Msg: 21
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/25/2010 6:46:27 AM
Yes it is sad, but your insults are even more so.

They weren't insults and you need counseling. SHE IS NOT YOUR MOTHER! I'm not telling you to take her in - but damn - a kind word on the phone is too much?! Let's just shun those that we don't understand. Your mother physically abused you - she looks like your mother - so let's throw her away? I have empathy for all humans. I am an awful person like that. I know two people that have schizophrenic siblings. I also had a neighbor that was shizophrenic and called me non-stop every half hour. I told him not to call me anymore. When I saw him we would have a slight chat and then I was off. You had a good life because you are here. I'm sorry what your mother put you through. Your sister didn't. She was thrown away like a piece of garbage. No visitors, no birthday cards from siblings - nothing. I'm not saying take her in and take care of her by any means. Understand her life. Did you ask her what she remembers about you? Maybe you'll be surprised. In any event this is my last post on the subject. I feel sorry for people that get thrown away.
 SaharaM
Joined: 4/9/2009
Msg: 22
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Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/25/2010 7:00:01 AM
^^Since you have empathy for all humans, you clearly must have missed the news that her sister has passed.

Please be kind.
 Chill Pill
Joined: 6/5/2010
Msg: 23
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/25/2010 8:28:57 AM
I am sorry your sister passed away. I hope she is in a blessed and peaceful place now.

I don't think it's a strange co-incidence this "popped up" I think everything happens for a reason.
I hope you can re-read these others opinions/ posts here and finally get the closure you need with freedom from guilt.
Sometimes the people closest to us are the ones we can not help at all because so much of our history, our emotions are involved.
Even if you had a PHD in were a psychiatrist, you would not have been able to help her. You were to close to be objective and to much of your own emotional wreckage would have clouded your ability to help her. Your mother perhaps mistreated her too.

I was an occupational therapist for 9 years before I went back to college and got my teaching certificates. I worked with the chronically mentally ill and their abuse is most often directed at family members more so than faculty and staff who can be objective and are trained with techniques to quell these outbursts. I was once punched in the jaw and knocked out by a resident. When I came too she was reprimanded by the Doctors.
Her reasoning " She is to pretty to work here ". Talk about an off handed compliment!

Find freedom from the guilt and pray that she is happy now. People that have not dealt with mental illness within their family seldom understand the dynamics. Don't feel insulted by the ignorant.

God bless you.
 sexyisback!
Joined: 9/14/2010
Msg: 24
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/25/2010 10:35:58 AM

It's strange this thread popped up in my forums this week. My sister died Wednesday.


lucky you.. I am hoping that I will soon see the obituary notice for my psychotic, leeching, thieving, bullying ex - "brother"
 where4
Joined: 10/1/2008
Msg: 25
Turning my back on a family member............
Posted: 9/25/2010 4:51:36 PM

I try to be a good person but have ended becoming a doormat for troubled people in the past.


This seems like a good balance to me. It's the level toward which I try. There's plenty of mental illness in my clan, too - on both parents' sides. I have my own issues, too, and I try to keep myself healthy. Sometimes that requires keeping away from certain relatives. This does not equal hating them or even not caring about their well-being.

I'm very sorry for the recent loss of your sister, OP. If you had no compassion for her I don't believe you would've started this thread.

Sometimes it's just too difficult for a family member to care for the ill one. That's why public services have been created. That's why our tax dollars are well-spent in supporting such services. If the seriously mentally ill persons could have a choice, they would not choose to live with these illnesses. If family members had a choice they would not inflict these illnesses on the sufferers. We as a society have an obligation to care for them in a humane way. This does not mean self-sacrifice of anyone so unfortunate as to have such illness in the family.

Yes, it's political. Yes, there are public needs for which we all must pitch in and pay taxes. That's what it means to live in a civilized society. No one's ill family member should be cast out into the streets with no supports, despite the family's inability to shoulder the burden of care alone.

I used to go into the state hospital to observe and assist with the discharge planning for individuals going back into the community. My agency worked with our county government in order to create proper services for people. I will never forget the elderly couple who believed they were caring for their mentally ill son in the best possible way. They were wealthy people but couldn't get around much themselves anymore. They refused public services in the larger community for their son, including a residential placement, job skills assistance, etc., because they figured they could afford it and it was their responsibility to care for him. The poor guy, in his fifties and miserable, kept cycling back into the state hospital and then back again to the parents' fine home in the suburbs. All he had to do all day was sit around the house, lounge by the pool, watch tv, and the like. The psychiatrist tried to explain to the parents that a placement in the city to a less affluent area would give the guy a much "richer" existence and hope of recovery to some degree, with greater social integration. The parents were too old to drive him for vocational/social training daily so he just didn't get to go. There was no public transportation service to their area. He just festered in their home, becoming more and more seriously ill until he would bounce back into the hospital.

I wish you well, OP. I don't believe you've done anything wrong by your sister.
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