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Anxiety (?) problem with interaction with certain close relatives.

S

sunshine12345

New member
Joined
Aug 19, 2021
Messages
4
Location
USA
Greetings,

My first message. I do not know if it is anxiety problem or not. But I will describe it here and also describe how i am dealing with it.

I just turn 50. I moved to USA from India about 25 years back. One of the main reason of my leaving home was the environment at my home. Mainly dominated by my Mother who had absolutely wrong ideas about the world and how the world works. She had complete dominance on our home and lives of My father and 3 other younger siblings. I am eldest. She did not had much education, or wider horizons. Fortunately many of my other relatives were very tolerant towards our family understanding that My father was a Gem of a person and extremely compassionate human being. But my mother tried to control every aspect of everybody's life that she could. To an extend that she proclaimed in our family that she is divine and others will be benefitted in this world if they listen (succumb) to her wishes. I was always a "skeptical" kid growing up in India. I am practically atheist for last 30 years. Where as almost everybody around me (india) were highly emotional and almost every decision comes out of emotion (not logic or Long term thinking). When I finished my Engineering in computers (all on scholarship) and landed a good Job in India, within one year, i bought a flat and offered my Brothers and sister and Father to come with me. I also suggested that I will fix my mother's attitude if they give me chance. They all denied. They all were suffering but they accepted that "it is nothing that they can not tolerate" and it will be immoral to do so. (Asia and it's morality is a topic which can take few millions Phd thesis and still there will stuff uncovered). My biggest concern by that age was suffering of my siblings through the same, The Mother Monster.
I could not give up on them, so I did not move to my new flat in India and stayed with them, But soon I moved to USA and stayed in touch with them trying to guide them, helping them from what I can. But Mother always had 24 hours access to them and I wasn't there. Honestly I wasn't there, as I have escaped for my self to USA. It is not a sin to better one's own life. By 40s i have wife, house, few cars, 2 brilliant and compassionate kids. But I always stayed connected with my siblings.
Right from my first salary in India out of first Engineering job, which i gave all to help my brother to his business idea, up until 6 months back (when i am in my 50s), I paid and paid to by siblings to make there life better. Marriages, business loans (It was always called loans but no collateral and never ever paid, not even mentioned that they will pay me ever), accidents, unexpected challenges (e.g. walking in a waterfall towards the fall without telling anybody and the moment you are at the edge crying for help).
Most of these challenges and failures in my siblings lives are due to wrong Ideology, which was infused in they by The Mother. My father passed away about 15 years back. after that She start exploiting the "Pity" angle even more daringly and nobody could challenge her. I was only one who could criticize he on face and then she could cry and exploit on that Pity angle further from my siblings.
About 6 months back she died. I did not shed a tear. In the last 1 year of her life she absolutely drained my siblings out of there lives. Just to put things in perspective, My mother's sisters are alive most of them and they are about +/- 1 to 4 years of age of her. They all are active physically in there life, doing farming, helping grandkids etc. And I have excellent relations with all of them, appreciating there Way of life.

In the last 1 year of The Mother's life, she had refused to go to bathroom. She demanded food on table, diapers to take care, and constant crying and screaming for help. 2 of my siblings provided to her needs (screwing there own personal life and earnings) as 24 hours on duty. I have clearly explained this "expected situation" to everybody more than 10 years back and I have told everybody that, "I WILL not HELP" when it comes to that, because they are simply ignoring the good advice. Either way, I still helped. Without my monetary support, one of my sibling would have died before The Mother. The monetary support was used to get hired help etc. to save my Siblings life. I have no desire to see her on her death bed or feed her a spoon of rice.

After my mother had died, in the first 2 weeks my interaction with Indian counterpart increased and I came to know a lot more worst things that had happened in my family in India. And 90% of that is due to The Mother and her influence. My siblings will never accept that as The Mother's Fault or the reasons for there own failures in life. My sister has very broken relationship with her Husband. By Brother in law is a gem of a person just like my father. Just the generation is different. My sister has no professional skills. and she is almost Duplicate version of my The Mother in new generation. She can wear modern clothes or have a social media account but at the core The Mother and daughter are same. about 8 years back, She accused my BIL on extra marital affairs. Then rally everybody around her. Left the house. my BIL had a heart stroke and She did not even went there to see him (after 10+ years in marriage). As a sister, I did supported her emotionally, but I never criticized my BIL. Where as almost everybody else in India gave the benefit of doubt to my Sister and criticized my BIL. Finally the issue was solved, by arranging a meeting between BIL, My sister and the accused office Girl (who supposed to have affairs with my BIL) and her Husband. They all sat down and explained my Sister that there is nothing like that. personally I think, the support level that my sister got from the Rest of the world is beyond words and stupidity.

So it is 2021 August now. MY sister has very broken relations with her husband, but they tag along. My Middle brother got married at age 45, but living separately within 6 months. He is under financial obligation from other widow women, who has wrapped him around her fingers. and the Widow women has made him live with her and my Middle brother is in a process of breaking up with his wife. MY Younger brother never in his life worked or held a steady job. His wife works and they had 1 kid and his wife is carrying a load of 3 people.

They have taken many loans from relatives, which will never will be paid. (Loans from me is different topic to which there mute response is: "Didn't we took care of your mother? you were not here!" )

I am dealing with this shit since i was 11 years old. Constantly thinking how can I help, How can i Guide them etc.
Now I just gave up. In a big frustration, the first major outburst of my life, few days after my mother passed away, I told my 3 siblings that I have nothing to do with them anymore. There is no logical explanation or answers that i find that can help me to make a peace with all this.
Now They all want to get back with me. Explaining that I am right in my way and they are Right in there way. (BTW always "my way" has given money to "there way"). I do not much cared about money that i can afford to give. But nothing good have came out of it. They had numerous losses in Business and life. In past they simply physically listen to my thoughts, but ultimately pretending that they will listen and able to get funds from me. Always in Tears, explaining how life is unfair especially with them.

I just don't want to deal with that shit anymore.
I fact whenever I am forced to "deal" with it, i find myself going in a negative thinking loop where everything from childhood comes back to surface and I get in to anger, breathing difficulty that lasts few days, uneasy chest and sleep deprivation that lasts few days. This is nothing that needs me Hospitalization, and nothing that I can not handle. But it still severely affects me and I do not want to be bothered by this again. I think it could be Anxiety. But I don't know.

I have explained this couple of relatives in India and told them that as long as they not talk about my childhood home ("KK") and people in that, I am ok with everybody and everything else.

I explained this to my wife also. But My siblings have always tried to get back to me via my Wife in previous minor frictions. and They all still think that some kind of apology will solve everything and they kind of try to get back via my Wife. My wife is another exceptionally nice and compassionate person (just like my Father and sister's husband). She thinks that she can "Heal" me and patch everything and win everybody's Kudos.

I sincerely tried to explain to my wife that I am beyond repairs in this matter. More importantly my problem is not systemic. It is Locale. I do not have any problem with any other person, place or situations. Technically to "heal" is a better way than to "shut it out". I agree. But My estimate is that: what has affected me 40 years, it will take at least 20 more years to heal. and tactically it will be wrong to waste that much time on a non systemic problem, in my 50s.

Question: Is there anything wrong in my approach of "shutting it down"? How do I convince it peacefully to Wife? For most of them I made a big issue out of a small problem. I do not expect my wife to understand The Mother and my childhood.

Sincerely,
One Affected Soul.
 
Bod

Bod

Well-known member
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Jul 19, 2021
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6,346
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TOTALLY FANTASTIC
Hello, know one is beyond help or repair as we have to want it for our selfs and only our selfs. With anxiety it will seem impossible to understand or control but the best thing about anxiety is IT will NOT hurt us at all, as it is only a feeling but when we get it we start to have our minds racing left right and center. So to control those feelings we have to calm our selfs down by focussing on our breathing with some thing called Pursed Lips Breathing, so we breath in through our nose for about 3 seconds then hold our breath for 4 seconds and then we slowly breath out through our mouth as though we are going to whistle.
 
S

sunshine12345

New member
Joined
Aug 19, 2021
Messages
4
Location
USA
Thank you Bod. Pursed Lips Breathing is a good technique. This is also called originally Pranayama. 🙏
 
B

BlueWater

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Jul 29, 2021
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464
Location
USA
Sounds like anxiety and so long as you are a good husband and father then if dealing with it means shutting down for a while, then that's your business. Your wife is trying out codependency on you. It sucks for you and ultimately will for her because you just want to live in the here and now. I've tried fixing others; it only made me feel exasperated.

I had similar issues with close relatives. With my mother and father, I have found healing. With other relatives, not yet and maybe never. One relative's ways irk me and I want resolution for our difficulties. That may never happen because she needs to work on fixing herself. I read a quote recently that I try to remember: "When I gave up hoping, I felt a lot better."

It's good you put your thoughts and memories down here. It's better to get our thoughts out of our heads. Maybe keep these words somewhere for reading a year from now or maybe you never read them and just burn them. Nothing you can do about the past. Be straightforward with others that you are being the best husband, father and brother you can be and they need to let you be.
 
S

sunshine12345

New member
Joined
Aug 19, 2021
Messages
4
Location
USA
Thank you BlueWater. You just mentioned a excellent point. One of the reason I decided to shut it out is because, it was affecting me to be a better Father. I was getting angry and upset. It was extracting the worst in me and I could not help it. My Kids used to look at me like a stranger as they never knew this bad side of Dad. Honestly, the life has taught me that it is hard to change anybody. I should have accepted them as they are and draw a line long long time back, *giving up on Hope*. That way, i would not have been involved much. They all shared "selected" information with me, to extract expected reaction from me that could benefit them.

It is so comforting to share these things with strangers across various cultures. I have many many closed friends and most of them are from India. It would be impossible for any of them to understand the point that How can a son hate his own mother so much. (that is too, a son who is born in Indian Culture). yes, hate. Even she is dead now. I did not hated anybody else ever in my life. (Not even Bin Laden.). But I do not want to sugar coat anything and want to accept my true feelings, whatever it is. Though hating hurts me. So shutting it down for good is better choice. I do think of all my siblings as "affected" by The Mother Monster. So i am not angry with them. But we all are adults now and everybody has to bear own burden. Besides, 2 of my siblings have no children and I have 2. They will never understand challenges of being a parent.

If my wife (the kindest soul that I know) still wants to interfere in future, I will just have to suffer again and that is ok. I am not going to tell her again not to interfere.

Interestingly, Writing about it, or texting or email even with my siblings, do not affect me. I think i can separate emotions in these methods. But Phone call, Video call or actual meeting with them or anybody discussing that topic in audio/video affects me. I also insisted(to my siblings in past, if they want to communicate with me) on texting/email in a group of couple of other close relatives.
Further interestingly, My siblings are not interested in group Text/email with me. There prefer method is 1-1 phone call where they can cry again and get me emotional. But I am done with it now.
 
B

BlueWater

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2021
Messages
464
Location
USA
Thank you BlueWater. You just mentioned a excellent point. One of the reason I decided to shut it out is because, it was affecting me to be a better Father. I was getting angry and upset. It was extracting the worst in me and I could not help it. My Kids used to look at me like a stranger as they never knew this bad side of Dad. Honestly, the life has taught me that it is hard to change anybody. I should have accepted them as they are and draw a line long long time back, *giving up on Hope*. That way, i would not have been involved much. They all shared "selected" information with me, to extract expected reaction from me that could benefit them.

It is so comforting to share these things with strangers across various cultures. I have many many closed friends and most of them are from India. It would be impossible for any of them to understand the point that How can a son hate his own mother so much. (that is too, a son who is born in Indian Culture). yes, hate. Even she is dead now. I did not hated anybody else ever in my life. (Not even Bin Laden.). But I do not want to sugar coat anything and want to accept my true feelings, whatever it is. Though hating hurts me. So shutting it down for good is better choice. I do think of all my siblings as "affected" by The Mother Monster. So i am not angry with them. But we all are adults now and everybody has to bear own burden. Besides, 2 of my siblings have no children and I have 2. They will never understand challenges of being a parent.

If my wife (the kindest soul that I know) still wants to interfere in future, I will just have to suffer again and that is ok. I am not going to tell her again not to interfere.

Interestingly, Writing about it, or texting or email even with my siblings, do not affect me. I think i can separate emotions in these methods. But Phone call, Video call or actual meeting with them or anybody discussing that topic in audio/video affects me. I also insisted(to my siblings in past, if they want to communicate with me) on texting/email in a group of couple of other close relatives.
Further interestingly, My siblings are not interested in group Text/email with me. There prefer method is 1-1 phone call where they can cry again and get me emotional. But I am done with it now.
I understand what you mean by preferring group text or email. We rural Americans who grew up on family farms dealt with intrusive relatives everyday, one parent who always wanted to be pleased in ways like you need to move in and live in my house with me and/or a sibling who was preferred over all the others. Your siblings who don't have kids can't know how hard it is for you to be a good father with all of this drama from them. They'll have to understand that you can't change the past, that you didn't make your mom the way she was, couldn't change her and you can't make the present whatever they want it to be. They have to find happiness in living their own lives. That's very hard for people who want a happy clan but the world has changed. I have Indian friends who lament the same family drama I and my parents grew up with. This crap crosses cultures and boundaries. You've found a good place to vent.
 
T

trabian

Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2021
Messages
5
Location
Spain
But I am done with it now.
Hello Sunshine, I can recognise myself in some of the troubles and thoughts you write about. I emigrated 30+ years ago to Spain from Sweden. Relations with my family were always difficult, but now at 56 I've decided that I don't have the energy any more to deal with all their mental illnesses, financial troubles, substance abuse... I'm not very successful financially but at least I've kept my sh*t together and have a house and a marriage that's holding up still. There just comes a time when you decide that even being brothers doesn't mean anything if there is no desire from any party to be on good terms.
 
S

sunshine12345

New member
Joined
Aug 19, 2021
Messages
4
Location
USA
Thank you Bluewater and Trabian for your kind words.
One thing I have noticed that, most people who immigrate from one society to another type of society, (need not be another country) face these type of problems. The move is not just for financial reasons, but there is need to move away from some culture/lifestyle/some intrusive close relatives/ways of thinking/speed of life etc. and off course willingness to take risk. The People from whom they move away many times think that the Guy is making a killing financially and it is ok to drain him time to time. They think in terms of deserving charity, we think of Empowerment. We help them many times hoping that they will get empowered and on right track of life not seeking help from anybody further. But they keep making similar mistakes. I agree with Bluewater that this crap crosses many boundaries and cultures.
 
B

BlueWater

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Joined
Jul 29, 2021
Messages
464
Location
USA
Thank you Bluewater and Trabian for your kind words.
One thing I have noticed that, most people who immigrate from one society to another type of society, (need not be another country) face these type of problems. The move is not just for financial reasons, but there is need to move away from some culture/lifestyle/some intrusive close relatives/ways of thinking/speed of life etc. and off course willingness to take risk. The People from whom they move away many times think that the Guy is making a killing financially and it is ok to drain him time to time. They think in terms of deserving charity, we think of Empowerment. We help them many times hoping that they will get empowered and on right track of life not seeking help from anybody further. But they keep making similar mistakes. I agree with Bluewater that this crap crosses many boundaries and cultures.
You could write a book! You have great insight. Your statement about your relatives thinking in terms of deserving charity vs us thinking in terms of empowerment is a powerful statement. That really sums up the cultural difference you're dealing with. I find it hard to imagine that your relatives back in India could see it that way unless they moved here where they'd have to become more independent minded and adapt living in a city for work vs living in a place for the sake of the extended family.

A few years ago, one of my Indian friends moved from one city in the US to another to be closer to her sister and also to have more Indian friends. I went to visit her and she told me it's great seeing her sister more but her brother-in-law is so weird she can't stand being in her sister's house! Wherever you go, family drama awaits!

You're on the right path! God bless!
 
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