Crazy Family Filter: Help me cope with my family's mental health issues? (long)
posted by Phalene to Human Relations (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm pretty sure we're some sort of film and lit cliché: An intelligent but dysfunctional cocktail of neurosises (neurosi?) and mental illness, with a few prodigy and geniuses, substance abuse, molestation and intergenerational issues with neglect and/or parental over involvement. Everyone says their family is crazy, but mine is crazy is a sense that is terrifying, not goofy and eccentric.
I'm not exactly sure when something went wrong in my family, because family legend is spotty a few generations back. Apparently my maternal great grandparents were a trifle over controlling and my great grandmother was said to be prone to depression. Her children, my great aunt and grandmother, were definitely not sane, my mother’s not sane, her sisters are not sane and my siblings are not sane.
My maternal grandmother suffers from substance abuse problems, primarily alcoholism, symptoms of Asperger syndrome, depression and what we think is borderline personality disorder. She refuses to bathe and tries to involve everyone in her sexuality, molesting me, my mother, my first aunt, and my brother, as well as going out of her way to generally expose herself to the world at large. She also does very stupid things like setting herself on fire to get attention, getting into relationships with abusive people, breaking into the apartment to insist someone cancel her credit card while hurling emotional abuse, etc…
My maternal grandfather was just creepy. He molested my mother and I believe he molested her sisters.
Both grandparents were Mensa members. Being intelligent is taken for granted in my family, and remains the most prized virtue of the clan. Less genius family members tend to have self esteem issues. My mother was the ‘dummy’ of the family, and she’s very, very bright.
One aunt was a prodigy, off to Harvard at 16, and settled into computer programming, and merely seems to battle with Aspergers/Depression/No longer being a prodigy now that’s she’s 50.
The other aunt is also Aspie and has been unable to hold employment for six or so years due to crippling anxiety. She has panic attacks, which I’ve gotten pretty good at soohing when she visits.
My mother gets severe migraines from over stimulation (ie a sunny day, getting hot enough to sweat, etc) and is aspie. She prefers to keep no social contact beyond her family, and I think that I may be her best friend, which is awkward when you’re also someone’s child. Sometimes she tells me about events from her past, and they’re fucked up to the point that I can’t cope. She won’t see a therapist yet as she’s ‘too busy’ and it’s embarrassing to call one from work.
My siblings are both either unable or unwilling to attend school. Their father, my stepfather, is prone to depression, which manifested as anger, before he went on Prozac, typically directed at me. At one point this anger led him to threaten me with a knife. I still haven’t forgiven him, and when my mother told me not to provoke him into these rages it put a huge rift in our relationship as well. My siblings are supposed to be home schooled, but are merely left at home all day, alone (they’re aged 14 and 16, so strictly speaking it’s legal) and while my sister gets minimal tutoring in the evenings, my brother is mostly unschooled. The brother is mostly good natured, but my sister reacts to perceived slights by trashing and breaking things around the house. It scares me, because when property of mine has turned up damaged I can’t tell if it was an accident or her being upset.
I'd really hoped that tracking down my father's side of the family would help give me some role models that's weren't batfuck insane, but my father is selfish Aspergers typified and is married to someone who suffers from severe depression. When I visited them for the first time they had a yelling argument over the top of my head about something stupid. I have two half sisters with them I’m sort of worried about.
Needless to say, I’m not sure I’m sane. I have an official psychiatric diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome and have been treated for depression. I’m also very anxious and suffer from obsessive passions. I’m terrified of birthing another version of my grandmother, though I want to have a kid some day. Mostly I’m expecting to get a wee little neurotic person like my siblings are, which is acceptable.
Speaking of which, I don’t know what to do about the siblings. They were pretty much left to themselves. My sister has no friends, the house is filthy and there’s no discipline at all. I was raised with mild discipline and much more attention, and I worry about them. They are fed, however, and loved. I dunno how they’ll cope as adults without highschool, in Canada.
I’m already in therapy, and I’m not sure it’s helping because I don't know what to do when people I love are all insane, not just some of them. I move away in 21 days, which will help, but I’m worried what people like my severely isolated mother will do without me too, so add major guilt.
Any help gladly taken.