Jump to content

So Tired of Always Having to be the "Bigger Person"


Smad

Recommended Posts

Hello,

 

It has been forever since I have posted, but have had very, very rough week and awful morning.  Some background: I have a sister with Asperger's Syndrome, who I am currently living with until I can afford a place of my own (my parents bought a separate house for her when we were kids, knowing that she wouldn't be able to pay the bills and would eventually need a place away from them. For the time being, as I am just a substitute teacher, I also get to live there rent free). Anyway, about every month, my sister has a huge meltdown that often lasts for several days (if not a whole week). From an early age, I learned that if I got angry or upset with her during these episodes, they would escalate further, so I try to remain calm during them.

However, this month has been a dumpster fire in general. My dad was in a huge accident while backcountry skiing and almost died. He is home from the hospital now, but is in a lot of pain. Much like my sister, he tends to get angry/mean and blow up when he is having a rough time. My mom is like me, so she just deals with it by being the "bigger person" and not getting angry back. This summer, I am also working as a reading teacher at a summer camp for 1st and 2nd graders and this week was terrible for everyone (kids fighting, telling me to my face that they didn't like the lessons or me as a teacher, etc...) But, as a teacher, I have been trained to always keep my cool and accept that kids act out because they are hurting (and to be fair, a lot of these kids come from very tough backgrounds.) I fully sympathize and I love my students, but I sometimes wonder why everyone gets to act up when they are having a bad day accept for me.

So, anyway, last night, my sister, who had been gearing up for a fit since Wednesday at least, said she wanted to **** herself. A bit more background on the fit itself: I guess she got into it with a member of our Buddhist organization, who she told me was bullying her about going to an SGI event, and that she never wanted to talk to again. After this, I texted someone else in Buddhist group to report the bullying and didn't hear back. But then, last night the supposed bully called her and she answered right away and I overheard them talking about how I was judgmental and a terrible roommate. She felt really guilty about me over-hearing and said she never did anything right and was better off dead.

I called my mom and we talked her down and made an appointment with her therapist. We agreed that it was a garbage week and we would start over today. But this morning, I was thinking about all the stress of the past week (and also was in some physical pain as I injured my wrist helping a kid come down a slide at the pool yesterday - not to mention sunburn from being outside for ten hours) and was crying about it. I then got up to get something and my sister caught me crying and asked if it was about her. I told her it was about a lot of things, including her meltdown. As soon as I said this she announced she was going to drink laundry detergent, so I chased her down the stairs and wrestled it out of her hands and kept insisting I wasn't mad at her and that I loved her. My mom came by a little while ago to take my sister for a drive to cool down. I feel like this wouldn't have happened if I hadn't acted sad around her, but then I realized how ridiculous that seems, especially since, obviously, I suffer from Clinical Depression (albeit, pretty high functioning). I sometimes wonder what not being allowed to feel/express negative emotions is doing health-wise. For some reason, I've lately been thinking that if this goes on, I won't make it to age 35 (to clarify, not by suicide, but from high blood pressure or even cancer).

Anyway, thank you for reading. Sorry it was long. Will try to keep you posted on how this turns out.

Edited by Smad
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry to hear that you and your sister are experiencing some difficult times.

Hang in there and I do feel your pain it is almost like everyone get to act out

and you can never express yourself and if you do it seems like the end of the

world to that person.  It's not fair but I guess it is better to be us than them,

who can not control themselves any better than they do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Update: Things got a lot, lot worse...

So my sister's fits have always been difficult, but this was the biggest I have ever seen. She drank a bunch and took her Ambien and is now at the ER and she has never had to go to the ER before. I thought for sure she would be over it by tonight and that she and I could laugh at the ridiculousness of it, like we do every other time. It is shocking and heart-breaking that this escalated so quickly and that I will now lose both my sister and my home forever all because I let my sister see that I was sad this morning...My dad, who has always been borderline abusive to me and my mom and who has outright said he wishes my sister were never born on many occasions, wants her to move into a group home immediately as soon as she gets out of the ER (wants a lawyer involved, to get her evicted!!!) and also wants me to move out immediately so they can rent or sell the house, even though my mom and I both want to give her another chance before forcing her into that because until now, she has been doing very well this year, even despite my dad's accident and horrible attitude. I didn't mention it above, but since I moved in with her, my sister and I have gotten to be best friends and she is perfectly lovely and fun when not throwing fits. If she were in a group home, I feel we would have nothing in common anymore and would never see each other again. 

So, on the original topic at hand of having to be the bigger person: my dad may be worse than the first and second graders at camp and he is certainly a great deal worse than my sister. I know it is technically not his fault, as he likely suffers from PTSD from his accident (and a possible head injury) and is cranky from pain medications (and to be fair, he had shoulder surgery just a few days ago), but he is still hard to be around, especially since he has such a "buck-it-up" attitude about everyone else (for instance, asking me "what's so bad about your life?" when I was depressed in high school - I will probably never forgive him for that one -  and mocking me for seeing a therapist). I wish my mom would divorce him because he is never nice to any of us. She and I talked about it tonight and sounds like he has been over-the-top critical of everything she does.

Thanks for reading

Edited by Smad
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow.  That's a lot on your plate personally and professionally.  And, strictly imo, you're being "asked" to take on a lot of sh#t that's not yours.  My concern for you is when is the dam gonna break?

One example I'll cite is my elderly mom - now with early dementia - who, for all her life, was told she had broad shoulders, so to speak, a variation on the "bigger person."  She took it to heart and utterly destroyed herself in the process.  In one instance years ago, she apparently walked around on a fractured femur for weeks before finally collapsing during a particularly long shift at a polling station.  That's her pattern and she'd always refused to seek professional help.  (I'm reminded of June Allyson in a 50s movie, pleated dress and all, obviously distraught, on the phone quivering, "O-o-oh, I'm f-f-fine.")

At the moment, second example, I'm her sole caregiver, though she doesn't live with me.  I should mention I have considerable health issues of my own.  Nevertheless, I'm faced with straightening out the mess she's made of her own finances, medical, scripts, etc.  Dealing with her unpredictable trips to LaLaLand, however, is a bridge too far for me.  I can't be everything to her and have just had to put my foot down on how much cray-cray I'll tolerate.  That means I keep her at arm's length.  Oh, she may not like it or those outside the situation may judge me.  I don't care.  My personal well-being comes first lest, frankly, I end up in the hospital (3x the last five years).

Again, my concern is that it sounds like you're reaching your own breaking point.  My suggestion is you shift focus to your own self-care.  I can't say what that would look like, except perhaps learning to say, "no."  Since so many family dynamics are involved, I realize it won't be easy to stand up for yourself.

Edited by MarkintheDark
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think your dad may need some time. Emotions are rightfully high given the circumstances. Maybe you all could ask to reconvene in a couple weeks so things can be worked out. But just incase, eviction isn’t an overnight thing. There are court legalities that have to be followed if you have lived there for 30 days or more. Family or not. It is a long process and usually not in favor of the owner but the occupant.

With that said, it sounds like you could use a healthy outlet to vent your frustrations or maybe to speak to your therapist about a healthy way to express your emotions about your bombarding surroundings.

 

I have a family member with high functioning aspergers and it is common for them to be irrational or to say or do inappropriate things. So although it is hard for you to deal with, it is even harder for her to understand and control those feelings. It is a vicious disorder. Have you talked to your therapist about your interactions with your sister? If not it may be helpful. I know one of the things we were told to practice with our family member is: five things you can see. Four things you can touch. Three things you can hear. Two things you can smell. One thing you can taste. 

We use this formula before a fit, to ground her and make her more aware and calm.

 

I know it’s hard always being the bigger person, but in this instance you are the one better equipped. But I do think you need to find an outlet for your sanity. You deserve better than you’re treated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Tid322 said:

I have a family member with high functioning aspergers and it is common for them to be irrational or to say or do inappropriate things. So although it is hard for you to deal with, it is even harder for her to understand and control those feelings. It is a vicious disorder. Have you talked to your therapist about your interactions with your sister? If not it may be helpful. I know one of the things we were told to practice with our family member is: five things you can see. Four things you can touch. Three things you can hear. Two things you can smell. One thing you can taste. 

Thanks Tid322! I have been to two therapists over the past ten years. Both were very helpful and both whom I mostly talked about my sister with. Unfortunately, one of them had to move and the second one was from the university, so I only got seven sessions with her (but in both cases, I felt that I was ready to "graduate" therapy, anyway). I definitely would like to start seeing another one, though and my mom thought that would be good, too, especially about general self-esteem issues. Of course, problem is price, as I'm no longer a student 😞 Might give that a try with my sister, though. She is extremely bad at calming herself down. Actually, we are now just going to leave her completely alone when she throws fits (she has disability services from the state, so we will try letting them handle it). 

Edited by Smad
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, MarkintheDark said:

Wow.  That's a lot on your plate personally and professionally.  And, strictly imo, you're being "asked" to take on a lot of sh#t that's not yours.  My concern for you is when is the dam gonna break?

One example I'll cite is my elderly mom - now with early dementia - who, for all her life, was told she had broad shoulders, so to speak, a variation on the "bigger person."  She took it to heart and utterly destroyed herself in the process.  In one instance years ago, she apparently walked around on a fractured femur for weeks before finally collapsing during a particularly long shift at a polling station.  That's her pattern and she'd always refused to seek professional help.  (I'm reminded of June Allyson in a 50s movie, pleated dress and all, obviously distraught, on the phone quivering, "O-o-oh, I'm f-f-fine.")

At the moment, second example, I'm her sole caregiver, though she doesn't live with me.  I should mention I have considerable health issues of my own.  Nevertheless, I'm faced with straightening out the mess she's made of her own finances, medical, scripts, etc.  Dealing with her unpredictable trips to LaLaLand, however, is a bridge too far for me.  I can't be everything to her and have just had to put my foot down on how much cray-cray I'll tolerate.  That means I keep her at arm's length.  Oh, she may not like it or those outside the situation may judge me.  I don't care.  My personal well-being comes first lest, frankly, I end up in the hospital (3x the last five years).



Again, my concern is that it sounds like you're reaching your own breaking point.  My suggestion is you shift focus to your own self-care.  I can't say what that would look like, except perhaps learning to say, "no."  Since so many family dynamics are involved, I realize it won't be easy to stand up for yourself.

Hey, MarkintheDark! I don't know how to quote multiple posts from multiple people at once, so new post. I'm sorry you are going through something similar, but glad you learned how to keep her at arm's length. We decided today that we need to do that with my sister when she gets back from psych. She is so entitled and thinks everyone's life revolves around her and I guess we have been showing her that is true for years. 

Btw: she did come home today, but said something really mean to me because I embarrassed her about a fanfic she is writing and when I told her it was rude, she threatened to **** herself again, so she is going right back. This time, though, we had her disability service people take her. I engaged with her for too long today (telling her she doesn't get to make nasty personal attacks over a criticism of her fanfictions and that she should feel bad, but I would get over it - Then, she got super apologetic and wouldn't stop hassling me about how awful of a person she was - and today, I can't help agreeing with her!) I will stay with my parents for at least tonight. Also, as I expected, Dad has calmed down on the issue and it sounds like if I can find some roommates, I will be allowed to stay at the house - and I do actually know friends who are looking for a place (but one has a lot of pets, which my mom isn't okay with) and we will find either a group home or apartment for my sister. I'm actually not that upset about not getting to see her as much and I think it might be really beneficial to have some space from her!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...