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Navigating emotions as estranged family member is dying

I grew up with this person who for most of my childhood I would have equated to a big brother figure (I am an only, so that was important).

He was a bit of a bully in childhood. I remember being both happy and fearful to be around him and it worsened as we aged. Fearful of his words, he was not physically abusive.

I learned how to stand up for myself at some point and we would argue. I would a few times cut him out of my life completely when he crossed the line in trying to belittle me, ridcule me or say something so heinous I couldn’t rationalize a relationship with him any longer.

We are now 51 and 52 years old.

We had the fight of all fights about 1.5 years ago and I cut him off for the last time. My childhood affection that had tethered me to him was gone. And the “funny” stories of his treatment of me back then, well, I came to see them as not funny anymore. I saw them as a pattern in his adulthood treatment of not only me but many family members.

Six months ago he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He is now in his last days. I reached out following the dx, mainly due to family wishes and a fear of future regrets if I didn’t. I still feel nothing for me, though I don’t wish suffering on him or my family, so I am doing what I can to be supportive while maintaining distance. I would regret being fake with him as much as I would regret not acknowledging his / my family’s pain.

Sorry for the long story.

I guess I’m just here to see if anyone relates and to see how others have/might navigate grief for a childhood idea of someone while also non-grief for the toxic reality I came to see and loathe. All while he lays dying.

#ComplicatedGrief #Estrangement #toxicfamily

9 reactions 3 comments

I‘m worried #toxicfamily #narcissist #BPD #Borderline #Cancer

My father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. he has to do chemo therapy, then he will have surgery. The risk of death is about 95%.
Our relationship isn’t quite easy. When I was 10, my parents got divorced and my mother left us. My father, my brother and I were left alone. Then he hired a maid because he couldn‘t work and take care of the house and us kids. I was getting bad in school and always came back with poor grades. He yelled at me and wouldn’t talk to me for a few days or sometimes weeks.
I took care of my brother when my father or his maid weren’t around. I guess it was exhausting, but I don’t remember much from this age (0-14). I was told that my brother ran after my mother when she left us.

When I grew up, I showed the first symptoms of bpd. Of course I didn’t know it by then, but now I know, at the age of 24.
things got difficult and worse, and I didn’t like myself, nor was I happy.

I didn’t know that I was allowed to have needs. Feelings. I didn’t know what love was, I didn’t know I could ask for help. I didn’t even know there were emotions.

I was terrified of making mistakes because of the silent treatment. However, years later he started to date a women from parship. Apperently they liked each other and still do. She was..different. Speaking directly and giving me orders don’t work on me.
My walls were all up and I wasn’t even close to put them down.
At the age of 20 or 21 (I don’t remember) I moved out, to my mothers place. It was horrifying. But I made it to my own apartment with my girlfriend (we both have own apartments) and I’m definitely more happy like this.
I cut contact with my mother and brother, but there is my dad and his cancer.

On Friday I had to see him to change tires, and I felt incredibly uncomfortable. I felt guilty. I found myself in my people pleasing copy mechanism.
However, his girlfriend wouldn’t want to say hello because „I don’t want to spend more time with them, we don’t have to discuss this now“.
I hate her. I’m sorry, but for one time I have to admit it.

His Life expectancy depends on the cancers growth at the end of chemo therapy. Mabye three months, mabye six, mabye longer. But I don’t know. He doesn’t know.

And I’m worried.
I’m worried that I’m the worst person on earth.

But I have bpd and I can’t control my episodes. And right now I feel like a fool writing this (I don’t even know if I am going to post this)

#BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #Pain #silenttreatment #peoplepleasing #traumaresponse #Traumatized #help

6 reactions 2 comments

Struggling with PTSD financial crisis

I can't work for abusive people anymore. Nearly every job I've had is toxic to traumatizing. I'm trying to sell my art directly, but overwhelmed with the business side and shutting down with high PTSD symptoms. I am applying for disability again, but it's not solving food and shelter now. I need help!I can't make rent again. I'm alone and drowning facing eviction every month.

#CPTSD #developmentaltrauma #Disabled #housingcrisis #toxicworkplace #ChronicDepression #exhausted #toxicfamily

1 reaction

Christmas crap

I'm struggling so much today, I woke up to complete panic and then sobbed. My husband and I live in a very toxic house (in laws and can't afford to move) and I'm not sure if I can participate in Christmas day because of my mental health right now. I'm sure everyone (other than my husband) will hate me for that and talk about me behind my back. Im just so done with everything. #Bipolar #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder #Anxiety #Family #toxicfamily #Christmas #Depression #overwelmed #MentalHealth

24 reactions 12 comments
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I'm sorry

I feel like I'm the only one in my family capable of saying "I'm sorry". I say "I'm sorry" too much, honestly, I know that and I'm working on it.. but I feel like most people I encounter, even outside of my family, are either too uncomfortable to say it or don't think of it. If I say I've been hurt by something, people either disappear or blame me for my hurt feelings (too sensitive
, or I'm making it up because they don't remember it [because I often address things later than in the moment which is something I need to work on], or I'm just being crazy).

I understand that a person can not be sorry for something.. but it does hurt when I go to someone and say "I felt hurt because of what you did" and it gets passed over or worse.

Am I toxic for searching for apologies or are they toxic for never saying any... I don't know to be honest.

#imsorry #apologies #toxicfamily #Depression #Family #Support #processing

Pic of items that make me feel better

8 reactions 8 comments
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Would you consider changing your name?

In this article Alexander Lockwood talks candidly about the difficult decision he bravely made to change his name due to the trauma he endured.

Read This if You Feel Like You Need 'Permission' to Change Y...

I admit I have often thought of this too. I hate my name. Nobody knows how to spell it and frankly it just doesn't feel right, but I'm not ready to make that leap just yet. I did, however, decide last year to celebrate my birthday on a different date because my birthday never felt like it was a celebration for my life, it felt like a celebration for my mother for giving birth and I HATED that.

Have you ever felt like changing your name or anything else about you that reminds you of your trauma? If so, share below.

#Trauma #PTSD #CPTSD #toxicfamily #FamilyTrauma #namechange

Read This if You Feel Like You Need 'Permission' to Change Your Name Due to Trauma (or Any Other Reason)

"I wished I had somebody who had been through it to hold my hand and reassure me that it was OK to change my name, no matter my reasons."
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I’m so tired of this shit that’s called life #Borderline #ChronicDepression #NegativeThoughts #restless #toxicfamily

I am so tired of worrying about my family. My mom doesn't accept me because of the changes from borderline and depression, and my dad just stands behind his girlfriend and blames me for not checking in, even though he never writes either. I mean - does he think this will help me? I had a suicide attempt last New Year's Eve and honestly he could have been thinking. Why should I blame myself when it's not even my fault?
And somehow my life is going down the drain again, I'm in debt, I'm currently having a depressive episode and I've started a new job which is very stressful. Will everything get better at some point? Yesterday I signed up for a program, called quit the shit. A program that helps people to quit smoking weed. I hope it will get better soon and I can be happy again. Maybe sometime in a few months I'll go to a clinic to do DBT. That is supposed to help borderliners.
I don’t know, my thoughts keep running and running and running in circles and I can’t do anything to stop it. It’s exhausting.


Today I decided to cut off my toxic family members after multiple failed attempts to reconcile though they accused me for something I didn’t do.

#Trauma #toxicfamily #ChildhoodTraumaSurvivors #IntergenerationalTrauma

1 comment
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It's Better To Be Alone Than To Be Abused By Anyone #codependent #CPTSD #NarcissisticAbuse #toxicfamily

Me with my dad 4 months before he passed away. I edited this photo today as a reminder of strength and discipline; because, "it's better to be alone than to be abused" by anyone.

Quote from the book, Codependent - Now What?

It’s Not You — It’s Your Programming by Lisa A. Romano

Book link:

#familymobbing #narcissisticadultchildren #scapegoat #DysfunctionalFamily