View Full Version : My dysfunctional family


dewrdr
07-27-16, 06:13 PM
I always wonder how I would be if I'd grow up in a normal family. How much of my current struggles is about the way I was raised and how much is the real me.

Currently, I'm living only with my parents in a rented flat. But that's only since the age of 15. I am twenty-one now. My mother is the untreated child of the alcoholic family. Her father is addicted to alcohol and her mother is co-depended. However, it's not that abusive as it was in the past now. My grandmother took care of herself and started acting the way it makes the connection with her possible. She started being more kind and is not as manipulative as she was. My mother is a typical narcissistic mother. Has low self esteem, is being intrusive (although now I have more boundaries set and it's not as upsetting as it was in the past), infantile with mood swings and pushes people, wanting them to be responsible for her emotions. Everything is always just about her, she's been doing a lot of gaslighting,emotional blackmailing, privacy invading, silent treatments and tantrums. I was very defiant towards her ways and would detach emotionally since early age. I don't really depend on her on an emotional level that much anymore.

But what I really want to write about is my family from my father's side.

As a result of his upbringing, he is also narcissistic, making it all about him and he cannot deal with frustration. He is a perfectionist, extremely critical of others and everything around him. He despises his life and his marriage and the way he made his life. He does a lot of verbal anger. Has OCD and ADHD traits. I used to have a good relationship with him from time to time as he was sometimes funny and easy going, such as go for a drive with his car, but just when I was reaching his expectations. He would offend me a lot and responded to my needs mostly in anger, if he didn't agree with them. He used to put a lot of blame on me for his decisions even when I was a child (like for not moving out to another city when I was 4, because I started crying and said I don't want to leave etc). Recently he has totally abandoned me emotionally due to problems with his family; doesn't talk to me, avoids me, doesn't joke anymore, doesn't care for my birthday. Before that there were times when we really had fun together. But then his frustration and one small conflict with me made him cut me off completely. I was just "one more trouble".

So, what's going on?

Until I was 15, apart from that one year we were living abroad, we were living in my father's parents house. In one room with zero privacy.

The house is big and old (built before WWI) and scary. Apart from me, there were also seven other people living there and still are.

A nearly 100 years old aunt, which is the only reasonable person there with a clear mind. She's a widow after the brother of my grandfather's mother, who was a drunk and a tyrant and died pretty quickly in his thirties.

Two of my grandfather's brothers - raised by an awful, mean woman and her husband who was a survivor of Nazi camp - where one was only living there partially, a religious fanatic, very sad, depressive and emotionally broken man, completely passive towards his wife: they have three daughters, two ended up in abusive relationships and are more or less antisocial. Now he lives with her wife and doesn't leave the house much and has some depressive and paranoid issues.

The second one, who was once working and had a wife who then divorced him and ran off to another country. He is an alcoholic, to the point he stopped using the heater and got his legs cut off due to gangrene. He was also an exhibitionist, showing off to people who were passing by the windows: as a kid, I had to be watched playing outside the house. He would just come off his part of flat (separated from ours) and stare at me in a weird way and look from the window when I was walking to school. I was afraid of him and hated him. Our house was the one "the pervert lived in". My family was never concerned about it affecting me. l.His mother must have been awful. One day, when I was around 8, he had a psychotic break from alcohol and would run over the possesion with a knife, thinking he is seeing his dead mother. There was police involved and I couldn't leave safely for school. When I got there, I started crying, totally terrified. Because of him I developed fear of schizophrenia and psychosis. That's how safe my home enviroment was. Now this man is just sitting in his house on a wheelchair and the social services showed him as a poor guy left alone by his family and he started getting free dinners, some house renovation, etc.

And now, my grandparents. This is a really messed up situation.

First of all, my grandfather is extremely mean and aggressive. He's been putting my father down all his life and told everyone how bad and what a failure he is. Second thing is, apart from being an abuser, I think he is also autistic or has similiar neurodevelopmental disorder. This is something I'm terribly intrigued with, even though I hate him and have no contact with him anymore. Since I can remember, he wasn't speaking like other people. He is only shouting at everyone, that was his way of speaking, repeating the same phrases over and over and over again, never stopping, and then repeating everything again throughout the day, has his point of view that's weird and that nothing can brake, had obsessive interests (such as driving licences for every single thing you can have a licence for and history, always obsessed with history, but he never managed to go to university), completely unable to some flexibility, ever drank beer always at the same time and always kept buying the same stuff, had routines he would never break, criticized everyone and never understand them, was emotionally distant (only anger appeared) and he would always treat me in a cold way, only showing appreciation by buying me stuff. That's why I exactly remember the only single time I was a kid and there was no one home, it was winter, and he helped me put my jacket on. He has extreme fear of germs and everything unpredictable, he was working in sales but would always get in fights with clients and the sales assistants couldn't take his obsessive speeches while he was going shopping, he would make them nuts. I have never seen any other man who would talk the way he was and behave like that, it's really difficult to express in writing, his bad character I think was not everything.

There are two other things: he has a hand paralysis that's uncurable and he is addicted to money saving.


Imagine a house where the windows weren't opened in months, because "the flies come in". A house, where there wasn't a hot water since you moved out in 2011. Where the toilet isn't rinsed, because that's a waste of water. Where the pressure in the sink is lowered. Where the washing machine has been used like once in a year and the sheets and the bedding are black from the dirt. The house that smells of urine and old food. Dirty dishes used a couple of times. Small portions of cheapest food in the fridge. Sharing one ordered dinner with your sick wife. The house that wasn't cleaned in years because if we wanted to clean, we would waste utensils and water. Imagine being nearly physically attacked for not having a few pennies to give the change back for your father. Not being able to do them shopping, because you are not gonna choose things that are cheap enough.

And now I'm gonna tell you: My granfather is a wealthy, rich man. He has lots of money kept hidden. He stole all the money from his wife because "he knows better how to handle it". He obsesses about every single penny and devoted everything to it. His family, his health, everything. He just sleeps in his smelly room and is disinterested with everything. Unless someone does something that interrupts him. Or gonna ask for something of him, then he is going to shout at you so hard and make such a conflict you will remember forever.

As I mentioned, he is disabled but refused any help. He could easily been moved to a quite luxurious care house with dinners and medicine, but he won't. He wants it as it is and is not gonna give his money to anyone. I remember that as a kid I accidently gave him a book where - as I later aknowledged - my grandmother was hiding her money in. He took it and I was blamed.

Now, his wife. My grandmother. Completely passive, co-depended, hostile towards outsiders. An orphan, her mother died my age. Suffers from cereberall hypoplasia, which is a part of the brain damage that makes you fall often, get dizzy, have troubles with movement, causes mild hallucinations, apathy and part of social skills, too. She was only working for a year in her life, then - as she grew older - gave up on everything, stopped eating properly, never minded the dirt and nothing, just depended on her husband. She criticized everyone but never defended her son etc.

Now, she also has leukemia. She is bed ridden, been in hospitals, now just lays in bed with a diper on.

My grandfather ignores it. He screamed at my father that he is supposed to do everything as his son, cursed everyone and stopped getting involved. He is soon gonna be probably left alone, because even if he doesn't want any help, my grandmother must be moved out from this enviroment. My parents are struggling financially due to minor jobs and they couldn't afford buying everything to their parents, especially that they really have lots of money and could easily afford a new, adapted home. We are "the working poor". The rent, the taxes, the food, nothing else. And my father kept constantly buying stuff for his mother, driving this and that way, to hospitals in another cities etc. So when grandmother gave him some money (not too big, like a

But, just to correct. One day during the fight my grandfather snapped at me with hatred, showing how worthless I am to him and I had enough already back then. I stopped going to this house, everything I know is just from what I hear all the time at our home. I decided not to get involved, despite social workers saying I should, but each visit was getting too emotionally draining as I was just told to be not worth of anything. It's crossing my boundaries too far.

So, the law here is pretty messed up. Officially, there is no help from the government in such situation, it goes like this: If both parents are sick, but the kids are still alive, they need to help them. Doesn't matter if they working (and if they were to leave the job especially for that, they would get 500PLN. It's nothing. Minimal wage here is already low and it's 1300 and barely can make up for rent and bills. If my father can't help, then the obligation is on my mother, even she cannot, the obligation is for me.

But, due to my grandmother getting a disability, social workers offered a low paid nurse to come there every day for a few hours and do the cleaning, washing them, dressing them, bringing dinner, etc. It is a great thing for my parents who have to drive there everyday, wash my grandmother, change the dipers etc.

But my grandfather of course was enraged. The social worker who came there and saw the house explained to him the water has to be hot etc and he was angry and shocked and reluctant: how come so strange woman gonna come to his house and waste the water and take his precious money. He doesn't want any help! He started giving her a talk and his manner shocked her. I don't know how long the nurse is gonna stand him, watching her every move and every drop of water "wasted" and constantly bragging and shouting about it.

I haven't been there but I heard the social worker was asking heavily why am I not coming there and not getting interested and that I "should". I'd kindly propose to her spending a night in this house.

Generally speaking, this family - despite getting to understand the ways it was all working there - is nerve wrecking. It was like growing up in an insane asylum. Even though I cut them off on some level it's hard for me to let go. Why? Because their dysfunction is so damn weird. It's nothing that people usually struggle with. I cannot really relate to anyone, even those from alcoholic homes or anything, really. I still waste a huge part of my time feeling damaged because of "my genes" and dealing with the fact that I cannot avoid having things in common with them. And thinking about how they affected me.

midnightstar
07-27-16, 06:31 PM
That sounds like a really tough situation to be in :grouphug:

Tetrahedra
07-28-16, 12:42 AM
I can't blame you for not cutting them out entirely - they sound completely fascinating. But please keep yourself safe. Setting boundaries is wonderful. I'm glad that you're taking that step. You are by no means required to go to their house, as the social worker says. Protect yourself and stay safe. If possible, get help through a therapist for yourself if you haven't already.

sarahsweets
07-28-16, 04:03 AM
Like the above poster said, you are not required to bear the brunt of your family's dysfunction on your shoulders. Its good that you got out. Do you have government departments where someone can report annonymously about neglect or endangerment? Here if those things were happening they have departments and phone numbers that you can call to get someone out to the house to inspect and if needed, enforce.

kilted_scotsman
07-28-16, 04:51 AM
Growing up in this environment will have affected you in all sort of ways, many of them outside your current awareness. If there are ways you feel and act that are impacting your happiness and ability to live a fulfilling life I would advise finding a good therapist.

There is nothing you can do to change your family dynamic..... however some of the behaviours you describe may be rooted in your families history. In particular the Second World War and subsequent societal chaos. The hoarding behaviour in particular may stem from experiencing unexpected destitution or seeing people unexpectedly destitute.

Likewise alcoholism as an escape from deep inner despair is common. This too could have its roots in wartime and post war experience.

In transactional analysis psychotherapy there are many useful metaphors about how messages about the world and how to live in it are passed down through generations.

Without the family history it is difficult to get a picture of what the reasons for the messages are, one simply has the messages..... fortunately that is enough to do the work.

dewrdr
07-28-16, 02:14 PM
Growing up in this environment will have affected you in all sort of ways, many of them outside your current awareness. If there are ways you feel and act that are impacting your happiness and ability to live a fulfilling life I would advise finding a good therapist.

There is nothing you can do to change your family dynamic..... however some of the behaviours you describe may be rooted in your families history. In particular the Second World War and subsequent societal chaos. The hoarding behaviour in particular may stem from experiencing unexpected destitution or seeing people unexpectedly destitute.

Likewise alcoholism as an escape from deep inner despair is common. This too could have its roots in wartime and post war experience.

In transactional analysis psychotherapy there are many useful metaphors about how messages about the world and how to live in it are passed down through generations.

Without the family history it is difficult to get a picture of what the reasons for the messages are, one simply has the messages..... fortunately that is enough to do the work.

Yeah, you're right, I've been already thinking about this.

dewrdr
08-02-16, 04:05 PM
I visited my grandmother in an oncological hospital. She's better, the place is pretty luxurious and clean with a lot of help. She even said she doesn't want to go back to her house, which is quite understandable.
She told me - which I didn't know - that she is my grandfather's second wife. The first one divorced him and they had a kid who died shortly after birth. Then my grandfather's mother tried to make it look like that woman was the bad one, not him. But after the divorce he went to jail for beating someone up and banditry. Then he met my grandmother and she was really sick at that moment (she couldn't walk due to neurological disorder, her mother was already dead and her grandmother who raised her was closed to death or dead too), so she wanted someone to help her with living and that's how they manipulated her into marriage, which I was already thinking about. She also told me my grandfather was kicked out of every job he tried to do, because he was too aggressive and problematic.
I also didn't know that the brother of my grandfather, the one with paraphilia and psychosis, had not one kid (a daughter with his divorced wife who lives in Norway now) but also had a son who also went no contact with him.
The father of my grandfather was also obsessional about money, never shared a penny with anyone. He also had other obsessions, such as with order and cleaning. His manipulative, mean wife told my grandmother during a wedding "You joined such a good family". Right.
I wonder what the hell was so wrong with these people's brains.

dewrdr
08-05-16, 06:20 PM
I wish it was all over. I'm in such a tension, that I can barely stand it. I've been in total derealization for a few days, then just felt that overwhelming tense feelings with loads of intrusive thoughts, then today I've been purely hopeless about everything- so I've cleaned half of the house just to have any feelings of control. I'm done with my exam failures, with the current job market that just puts me in the state of feeling like nothing, with having no money whatsoever since February. Every conversation with other people is stressing, because the only thing I can talk about are my current obsessive interests and I get really weird. Meltdowns, meltdowns, meltdowns. Talking to people seems scary because I feel like some obsessing weirdo. I didn't even notice I'm telling my - disinterested in science - friend my theory on psychiatry and neuropsychology for the second time, because my interests are the only thing I have right now.

Today I also cried. My father was frustrated the whole day because of the hospital transport for my grandma and the thing with a nurse- they managed to find one that can go to grandparent's house for like four hours (the government is not very helpful here, there is not much help provided for sick old people and the whole job falls on their children), but you have to pay her a small amount of money. Of course my grandfather now refuses the whole having a nurse idea, shouting at my father for looking for help for him and offending him, and doesn't want her anymore because, you know, you have to pay her, so she's only gonna come and help my grandmother or something. And when my father gets frustrated, he speaks of suicide and euthanasia and it makes me even more uncomfortable.

But the amount of manipulation I've heard today was just too much. What is basically my grandfather doing is causing everyone stress and saving every penny, but on the other hand he claims that if he saves more, the more will my father get after he dies. I don't really get that logic. The more manipulation comes when he claims he cannot control the amount of money he has anymore and wants to officially give it to my father so he'll inherit it. Why? Because he knows that once my father takes it (and he doesn't want to now), he will be feeling obligated to do anything for him, otherwise he'll feel guilty. He also scares him off not to take it, because and what if he gives it away to some random person or maybe someone else in the family...
Money game strong.
Also, my grandmother was having to hide so much money so her husband won't know about it, she now doesn't even remember where she hid it. Each of their goods and penny smells like humiliation, I said. Guilt, guilt, guilt.
I can't even talk about it with anyone because it's a small town and not so long ago my grandmother was robbed by some women that knew exactly she is sick etc. I dunno if someone heard sth at the hospital or maybe when I was discussing the thing with my friend in a cafe? Maybe it was my fault?

I wish I could have a life on my own. But then, hey http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=179136

So I'm caught up in the middle of a family drama. Someone on the net put it nicely:
Situations like this are hard enough when we can choose to walk away but what happens when it’s the people you love most, your family, and/or… the people you have to work with and you can’t just walk away?
These kinds of situations can drain, consume, and completely wipe you out! It’s like you know it’s ripping you to shreds but you can’t seem to unplug from it. No matter how hard you try, you keep getting sucked in!
Recently I found myself totally consumed in a situation like this. Despite all my best efforts to release myself from the energy using tapping and other energy healing tools, the emotional stress of the situation seemed to stick to me like the worst kind of super glue. Since I love and care about all the people involved, I could not seem to untangle myself from it.
After so many days of this, it started to consume my thoughts and energy. My head started to hurt and seemed like it was constantly spinning. I felt dizzy and exhausted and I couldn’t seem to even stand up let alone think clearly. No matter how hard I tried, I felt trapped in the energy of this enormous drama.

dewrdr
08-05-16, 06:53 PM
I really need to consider what is my thing to care about and what is not. This family dynamic made me a drama lover. And that made some people hate me, because I was always too involved and too critical of things that shouldn't even bother me in the first place and didn't concern me at all.

Little Missy
08-05-16, 06:58 PM
I really need to consider what is my thing to care about and what is not. This family dynamic made me a drama lover. And that made some people hate me, because I was always too involved and too critical of things that shouldn't even bother me in the first place and didn't concern me at all.

TTG. Time to go. Really.

dewrdr
08-05-16, 07:09 PM
Maybe it's not appropriate for this particular situation, because it actually does concern me. That was just a little thought about the other things in my life. But I cannot really help much here and I'm angry that everyone here just thinks of himself and doesn't see how the situation affects everyone, including me. The way they approach this situation is mind scattering. Anger and frustration everywhere, all day long.

Little Missy
08-05-16, 08:44 PM
If I were you, I'd be making a long and patient, painstaking plan. A real one and go. Make the break.