death in the family

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-2002
death in the family
16
Fri, 08-23-2013 - 4:19am

I come from a dysfunctional family in which I was the designated scapegoat.  After years and years of trying to connect with family members who ignored me and/or could/not would  connect in a healthy way,  I decided to stop reaching out.  After that, all reaching out stopped because it was always one-way. My siblings blame me that  my parents have rejected me. I have no hatred with any of them but just choose to no longer stay in a dysfunctional, abusive one-sided relationship with anyone. I have made peace with that and have gone on to have a happy life with many loving friends. I know now that relationships are two sided, I am not entirely responsible for the success of a relationship or making someone love me, and I have a healthy concept now of what love really is.  If anyone of them came to me sincerely wanting to build a healthy relationship with me, Imy door is open.  

My dillema is that one family member called me today to  let me know that my youngest brother who has not talked to me in over 25 years has passed away. ( Have to say i am amazed I was even on the list of those to call.)

  My own children have kept in touch with the family.  Even they think I should be the one to mend the fences.  They do not even know these fences can not be mended as long as the people do not get healthy.  I believe that some of them will be attending his funeral.  If I  they needed me there, I would go.  Otherwise, I feel no desire to be there with people whoa) have such a negative attitude toward meb) to put on the act of we are one big happy family.  I can comfort my children individually as needed for the loss of an uncle that they also could not get close to. 

I have healed from the guilt and shame I used to feel for finally taking care of myself by not always being there for them and "doing the right thing" when it is not right for me.  Why then do I feel so conflicted about this. Should be a no brainer, don't go.  Perhpas i am not completely free of the "what they will think."   Based on past behavior, it doesn't matter whayt I do or say, I know what they will think and i am done basing my behavior to tryg to change what people think of me.  

As for myself, I can do my own private ceremony at the sadness that the brother I practically raised and tried to protect  from all the abuse in our childhood,  chose not to be a part of my life and passed away, as a stranger to me.

I'd like to hear  any ideas how to respond to this news: send a card, flowers, go to the funeral, not go?  Since someone did contact me, I do  want to acknowledge his passing in some way.  I know I HATE how I've been ignored all these years.  I am having a hard time coming up with a reason to go. If I just send a card do not even know what to say.  And what do i say to my own grown kids.

Thanks

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-2002
Fri, 09-27-2013 - 7:42pm

Yes,when I asked my neice for information she said, I think the 29th but I'm not sure.  So I figured someone would let me know.   If any of them had sincerely included me or reached out to me, I may have reconsidered my choice.

Yesterday, I I was tagged on  facebook as one of a bunch of people gathered at the ferry to go to the island.  Yet I recieved NO direct information about this.  That was shocking to see that the plans had indeed been made. Yet, again, I am left out of the loop, but for all to see it looks like I'm included.    Was it my responibility to start chasing down the informationation?  I already reached out to the parents and the widow but not acknowleded. My decision  is definetely sealed now.   Anyway, I want to reply on the facebook post  with the following:  Would this be appropriate at a way  I was not informaed about this event.   This younger generation has no idea about wht goes on except I am not there.  My kids will see my comment as well. .

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

"Thanks for the tag,.  Thinking of you,too,  but I got no information by which to know to be there. Like when where, etc. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-2002
Thu, 09-26-2013 - 3:00am
Update. I sent cards to my parents and sister-in-law, niece and my kids. My daughter who told me in the first place mentioned there would be something on the 28th, my niece mentioned the 29th, but no other info like where, when, etc. No acknowledgement of the cards from.parents or SIL. So, I am very clear. Going camping with friends the 28/29th. This was one more opportunity for people to step up, to do yhings differently, to connect but nope.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-2002
Mon, 08-26-2013 - 6:55am
Yes, of course, I will "do the right ting" as always. It is me that is reaching out to let everyone to let them know that I care. So dejavu Me taking care of everyone. Me the one reaching out. Even so, I feel good about sending that out and also a bit of resentment. One person did reach out to me to genuinely see how I was doing with this. It was my daughter-in-law. Bless her. We were able to have a really good talk. I spent quite some time writing a sweet memoir about my brother. At the end expressed my sadness that we did not get to know each other as adults and that he passed away a stranger to me. I am including that in my cards. Except to my mother, I can not give that to her. Card yes, my deeply personal memories no. She abused and betrayed my confidences way too many times. She will probably see it from her DIL anyway. Thank you all for being there for me through the process and hard work this week. I had a wonderful evening with a friend and watched Mama Mia. Perfect medicine for an intense week. PS wouldn't you know it. I've heard through the grapevine there will be no formal service or funeral but a private celebration instead. That is so my family. So exclusive. I think there are many, many people whose lives he touched through his business, his volunteer work as marine search and rescue and firefighter, and flight EMT who would appreciate being able to say their final goodbye to him or pay tribute to him. So many people from all over the world. He did serve his community well. His marina was the biggest in an area that attracted people from all over the world. Even Tom Selleck and John Wayne had their boats in his marina. Maybe his town will do something for the public.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2011
Sun, 08-25-2013 - 7:14am

Your mother threw you out after you drove 200k with kids in the car ??? What sort of a monster is she? And you say she is into images and NOT making a scene?? And you continued to accept her second hand rubbish gifts and got the kids to thank her? 

Unbelievable. You have been trodded on, rejected, thrown out and abused and you havent seen that she is the most toxic person in your world.   You   had   no   hope   with   a   person   like   this. 

I hope you never see her again. She is dreadful -she threw out her own daughter and Gchildren from her home and then thinks that everything is their fault. Im sorry but if it were me I would NEVER speak to her again. NEVER ever again. And I would have turned up at my siblings houses and not at a friend of a friend to let them know how this happened. 

Stay away from this negative energy and DO NOT send her a card for the loss of her son until she reimburses you for the petrol money you used to get her place for TKS giving. Hugs xoxox

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-2002
Sun, 08-25-2013 - 2:03am
My daughter -in -law called tonight to ask how i was doing and how I am processing this. Bless her heart. We had a long, very positive talk tonight about family I am so pleased.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-2002
Sat, 08-24-2013 - 11:43pm

Samuby...

You nailed it right  on every point.  Yes, it is my mother.  She is narcissic and lives in some kind of world of denial where she makes things up that she believes.  And there is no winning with people like that. But isn't that their point.  They are right and I am wrong no matter what. It is crazy making.  But Ha! I am not the crazy one, even though they try to give that impression.  

OH yes, the triangulating that goes on.  No one talks directly. And you can never get a straight up answer anyway.

My mother was not ever there for me. NEVER! Not in any way, emotionally , financially,  I could go on and on about the really cruel things she did mot of my life. I won't. Well one exception, during the time  I was married she played the part of a mom.  My husband did not like the way they treated me but he, too did not have the courage to stand up for me.  My mom got in her head that he was the cat's meow. Even though she had only met him  once before our marriage, she told him at our wedding, she did not think I was good enough for him.  The year we were separated, I drove myself and my kids 200 miles in the smow to be with my family at Thanksgiving and let  them know what was going on im my life.  Well, suddenly there were not enough chairs at the holiday table.  We were banned with no explaination except not enough chairs.  No solution I could come up with to rememdy the chair problem would work.  The kids and I ate dinner at Dennys and crashed at a friend of a friends before heading back over the mountains.   Mother's explaination later about that?  I was  selfish and always wanting my own way.  A chair at the family table for me and my kids???

But when my kids left home, then she played up to them. But where was she when they were kids?  Presents? They were usually old worn out completely inappropriate things she bought 2nd hand.  Usually the response from my kids was confusion and disappointment. In fact, the last time i talked to my sister-in-law, the new widow, was when she and my brother sent a package with lovely Christmas gifts from them and the usual from the grandparents.  Around that time I had been having conversations  with my children about giving to others and we were cleaning out closets to donate things we no longer wanted. . And conversations about graditude when recieving,  We made a phone call to my brother's so the kids could thank them for the gifts.  My daughter who was young at the time talked first.  "Thank you for the presents. I loved it.  But,,,,I am giving Grammas present to the poor kids"   She was so proud of herself to think of that idea. Oh my, her aunt immediately wanted to talk to me and then told me she was so mad at me she could not even talk. And hung up.  I then decided that I did not need to call back up to defend myself anymore. And she never , ever called me either. About 25 years ago.

I have moved on and I have a rich full life with many friends and a wonderful business and vounteer activites. I am loved.  Just not loved by my family.  I really do not know what it is to be a part of a loving family.  I did my best to do it differently with my own kids.  I was single and it was rough with absolutely no support and being undermined, to boot. Yes of course, that is a pain that does not go away.  Especially at times like this or when i hear of family get togethers because my own kids are going.  Some of them judge me for not "mending the rift"  But I think they get that idea , again, from my family who make me the one resposible. 

It still makes me mad when I see how it has affected my own children.  a poison that seeps threough the generations. Sad that my own children still do not understand. 

Congratualtions on yur home.   20 years! You've given me a bit of hope.  That, too has been a dream of mine.  A home of my own.  Don't know if that will ever happen .I've scrimmped and saved, too but it seems to keep on eluding me. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2011
Sat, 08-24-2013 - 6:00pm

Hi K-b F

When you told your mother that you missed her and that you were available at any time to reconnect and you said its up to her to make an effort too and she said NO,  and then you offered again she THEN responded "See, that is the attitude I'm talking about. "  

How do you win with this type of person? You need to look at the situation completely -

You were the 2IC in charge at home and your parents took advantage of this kindness. They then abandoned you -  most likely in your 20's and when you became a mother. Did they ever visit when you had small children and help you ? Were they supportive grandparents at any stage of your life? Did they help you financially or emotionally? come to any grandchildren events at your kids schools? Im getting the feeling that not much support was offered up to you, and I think I know why. 

You were the oldest. You left home to have your life ( which is normal and healthy and the expected thing to do) 

Yor essentially condemned your younger siblings to a life of hell living with them and your parents turned your siblings against you because you left home and were no longer the babysitter/ cleaner/ cook ... so they didnt like this. 

The problem that I see here is that your mother is the worst offender. She has enabled your father to be the awful person he is and she has most likely been brainwashed into being just as mean and horrible as him. 

Its so hard to have these people constantly reminding you of what it is your losing out on .. ie the very essence of family life... but these people are not what family is about.( its disgusting that for years and years you sent cards , presents and you stayed in touch and nothing was mentioned or reciprocated -Dd your mother send YOUR children presents and cards for birthdays?? or knit jumpers for them as babies or bake a cake and come over?? )

My mother has been in my life - all of my life and I love her for that. What I dont like is that there is a lot of jealousy in our family - and so I've stopped my mother being part of our lives so much. I hardly tell her anything of importance, because whatever she hears, she goes round telling the others about it. We are currently building a new house which has been my dream for 10 years and Im so excited about it and when my mother asks about it and tell her " not much is happening- its just a pile of dirt" which of course it isnt, but the minute I tell her things like that they took off the roof and the second story is really spacious and the kitchen is going to be beautiful and the kids bathrooms are having these imported italian tiles ( or whatever) she runs around and tells my siblings. Now my siblings are not building houses, or having that happen. They are doing other things and I tell my mother that If I want to know WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND IF THEY WANT TO KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING THEY SHOULD TELL US DIRECTLY AND VICE VERSA, not through her - the grapevine. Its annoying and disrespectful that she goes around gossiping. Ill give you another example, my mother and stepfather came over the day we were moving to our rental, and my stepfather ( he is so nosey) asks the real estate agent " how much is the rent"?  I was furious that he would ask the agent and NOT ME. He only wants to know so that he can tell everyone how much our rent is. Its none of their business and its breeds jealousy... oh " samuby- obviously not my real name" is paying X for her rental AND building a new home... people in my family get jealous about these sorts of things and then they EXCLUDE US .. because we are NOT one of them..

Nobody realises that for 20 years my husband and I have saved every cent, we have lived frugally, we have worked very hard and at this stage we want to have something to show for it and that we are adding value to the old home we bought 10 years ago so in fact the house when its finished will be worth a lot more. They are all simple minded and I dont care to discuss my life with them. So when I see them at family events and see them out and about, I talk about the weather and my dog and occasionally talk about how tough things are for my kids. End of story. 

Anyway, K-B -F, you sound like your an amazing woman, you really care about things that are no longer in your life to need to care for. If I were you I would take up volunteer work - work at the local hospital, in the cafe or go read books to kids at primary schools, or help out some new mums in the neighborhood with their babies, bake a cake for a neighbour and drop by. There are so  many ways you can do random acts of kindness for people who will love you back. Send the cards to your sister in law, your parents, your niece, " do the right thing" and MOVE ON AND TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Just make sure your own kids know that you have done the right thing with the cards, as its them that you need to show you are doing the right as they will learn to do that by your actions. good luck and stay in touch. HUGS xoxox 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-2002
Sat, 08-24-2013 - 12:53pm
Samuby, Yes, you really do understand. So sorry that anyone has to go through this. Yes, even though you've accepted what is, there is always a sense of loss. I used to feel so much shame and guilt that my family is not a part of my life. Even though I knew It was the healthy thing to not continue the sick dance with them. I have gotten over most of that guilt and am now proud of myself for being so strong. I do believe that the my siblings have aligned with my parents and the old family rules because they could see the price i paid for being true to my self, speaking the truth in my actions, being healthy. Too big a price to pay. Even the brother I was the closest to suddenly stopped communicating with me with no reason at all. We had no argument, no falling out, one day it was all is fine and the next nothing. For a whole year I tried contacting him, land line, cell phone, his wife's cell phone, letters in the mail. All were ignored. I have no idea why. I think he had to make his choice. He lives halfway across the country so there is no way I could have showed up at his doorstep to make sure he had not dropped dead. I know he hasn't because I've heard his name mentioned and see that he has a facebook account. Itchick said it very well, too. "It's always amazing to me how many people walk away from family dysfunction to get healthy and are rejected, like addicts who hate it when others get clean and sober. If you aren't with us, you are against us, regardless that the situation is unhealthy or even dangerous. It's a pathology that you cannot fight, and the only recourse is to get out." I do care and always will. However, I am also caring about myself now, too. My feelings and desires are just as important as others'. I completely understand the being all nice and warm all the time when you know they are revolting behind your back. And always being the one to reach out and it is never returned. I am the oldest of 6, was the other mom. The 24/7 nanny. Pretty much gave up my childhood to be the adult in the home, trying my best to protect my siblings while the parents were busy raging with each other the kids. I loved taking care of them and have no resentment. Only tht they all turned against me. Ask them and they will say, Everyone loves you. I'm still trying to find that person "Everyone" I have found the love, a completely different kind of love from the people who are in my life now. Good idea to send cards to my kids, at least the ones who have contacted me already. let them know up front, what I've decided and my positive memories of my brother and the sadness I feel that I did not get to know him and acknowledge their loss. I will let all of you know. Thank you. I feel so much better at least getting this all out and processing it. With each day I find more good reason why not going is the healthiest and best thing to do. And figuring out what the healthiest and classiest thing to do is. That is my goal, what is the healthy thing to do.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2011
Sat, 08-24-2013 - 7:29am

Hi Karenbfree

I have anxiety just thinking about your dilemma. I read your story and the responses out loud this morning to my DH whilst we were driving in the car. His response was " how sad" and that's my situation completely. I've stretched out the olive branch so many times and I get completely ignored and rejected by one family member who seems to hold the balance of power in the family and thus creates a huge amount of friction in the rest of the family. In your case its your parents, they are the true culprits. Your mother has enabled your father to be cruel and heartless and unfortunately some men are typically like this. Think of Reinhardt Heydrich and the other men in the SS Reich and gestapo, there you have heartless and disturbing people.

I would not go to the funeral BUT I WOULD SEND A CARD to your sister in law, your niece and your parents and your other siblings. I would sign it from you and your family. i would make it brief, but sincere as possible. AND I would definitely make sure YOUR children see that you have done this, to the point of maybe getting them to sign the cards too. If you get anything back, eg a message for the card or a card for yourself that will be interesting, but dont EXPECT anything in return. 

The anxiety you will have by going to the funeral will be terrible for you. As you said, you have made a new life for yourself and you have many friends. Perhaps you could have a small memorial for your brother and invite a few friends over to share a story about the happy times you cared for him. I think its important to commemorate his life, but I would not go to the funeral and play "one big happy family" at a funeral. 

By sending cards you are acknowledging the loss of your brother and showing you still care. You just dont need to care that much by turning up. Besides, the whole logistics you mentioned sounds difficult and emotionally upsetting for you. 

I have similar dilemmas going on, I keep extending myself and none of them reciprocate and show any love or care towards me or my family. Im so over it, I dont care about them anymore. But I have days where I feel a real sense of loss that my immediate siblings care only about themselves, and their children have very erratic relationships with mine. I just cant keep on being " nice and warm all the time" when I know they are revolting behind my back and show no loyalty to me. 

Keep in touch and let us know what you decide. Hugs xoxox

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-2002
Sat, 08-24-2013 - 5:02am
No, my family does not do scenes. Very civilized. Image is every thing. I am still not coming up with reasons to go. Except the family image. When I go to funerals, it is for those I have a relationship with or their family who can receive my comfort and love. At this one, I could not bear to sit there and listen to all the things about my brother that I've missed out on all these years and have no one there to understand and comfort me. They just blame me that they are not a part of my life. Even though they chose it. But I chose to change and get healthy and sey healthy boundaries. Huge disloyality.

Pages