Friends and family doing my head in

  • Hi All!

    I’m worn out. My brother is a recovering heroine addict (again) and has no money. He’s spent most of his adult life addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and can’t stick a job or run his online shop either. He’s getting help now but I’m getting worn out propping him up. My husband has traits of Asperger’s and spends most of his time st work or on a train (not to go anywhere he just likes being on a train) or shut away tinkering on computers. He doesn’t do much round the house. He doesn’t respect my schedule and expects me to fit in with his needs. I’ve always given him loads of support for his solitary hobbies and fill my time with my own stuff which he complains uses up “family time”. On a number of occasions I’ve been slightly late home from a hobby or work and he accuses me of sleeping with other men. My best friends have become busy and remote and I’m the only one who puts energy into any arrangements. I was bullied in a previous job which I left because I was in danger (nobody listened, despite reporting it in a meeting). I’m rebuilding my life and my new work is great now butI’m at the end of my tether. Nobody gives a shit about my needs and I’m expected to be this column of perfect marble dispensing divine energy, love and forgiveness no matter what. I can’t cope anymore. I told my hubby I’d leave if he didn’t change his behaviour and support me more. He trashes me to his friends about some decisions I make and faults me for things I can’t do anything about and doesn’t take responsibility for many actions. I’m out of gas.;(

  • Sorry to hear that Herbal Girl.I can't tell you what to do,but I will say,sometimes you just have to put yourself first.I also have a few people in my family I'd rather not deal with.I've disowned two of them,which I feel better for.You can't change the family you were born into but you can change how you deal with it.

    From my own perspective,yes in the past,many years ago,I felt like no one gave a shit.When I looked at it from a different level,I actually didn't give a shit about myself either,otherwise I wouldn't of tolerated other people's shitty behaviour.

    Start with loving yourself.When you do that,you put YOU first,and your levels of tolerance will change for the better.We've probably all been guilty of always putting other people's happiness first.The thing is though,your own happiness is more important.You're the one who wakes up everyday probably feeling like shit.

    Its helpful to realise too that everything we go through is temporary.You do have options if you want them.

    I walked away from a shitty marriage years ago,and that involved moving our kids and myself to a different country and starting from scratch.So I've been there and done it.

    What about your parents?Can they not help support your brother??

    Your partner says you fill your time with your own stuff,he then complains it uses up family time?You do have a right to spend some time doing what YOU want to do.Thats called down time right?Afterall your husband works and spends HIS downtime boarding trains to nowhere!

  • Hi Cobra!

    We have no near family as both my hubby and myself have lost our parents.

    I made my mind up to “re-train” hubby and explained I need time with my friends and do my work properly. While I earn far less than him I still buy food, our daughter’s stuff and contribute to holidays as well as do pretty much all the housework. I pay my way through the world by doing. I have supported him emotionally through lots of things. He seems to panic if things are out of his control and catastrophises but I reassure him and come up with a battle plan. It’s just having the energy to keep the plates spinning. He behaves like a frightened 10 year old sometimes.

  • I cant really add to what Cobra said,your hubby may have aspergers but sounds a lot like selfish narcissistic personality disorder too.

    Only you really know how you can resolve the situation to cause the least harm to all but its worth remembering its YOUR life no one elses and you weren't put on this earth to be a downtrodden serf to someone else.

    Its too easy when theyre family to feel you can't distance yourself or walk away because you have 'responsibilities' while they completely absolve themselves of their own.

    Sometimes it becomes time to stop keeping the plates spinning and do what YOU want to do.

    Good luck finding a way through.All things are temporary.

  • Herbal Girl - that's awful. I agree with Cobra, above, especially the first bit, "I can't tell you what to do". You have to do what you think is right. All I say here is just words, I hope some might spark some help, and I hope what I say doesn't come across too brutal / bleak, it's just to provoke some thoughts. Maybe you need to ask yourself some tough questions?

    You say you are at the end of your tether, that is desperate - how did you get to that position? It sounds as though you are there for everybody, you are a 'giver', and too many people have taken that for granted? Maybe at one time you had boundless energy, you were younger, thought things would get better. Perhaps you put your faith in the wrong people? Those people may have got too used to your endless giving, started taking it for granted and then exploited it? Patterns can become taken for granted and become harder to break, but it doesn't mean your way of life has to stay that way. At some point - the tether's end - something has got to give.

    As for your brother, heroin addiction is an awful thing. 'Relevant advice' depends on how deeply entrenched his problem is, his age, a load of other things, so I can't say too much on that. A two years 'addict' is very different from a ten years one. When you are talking about serious addicts in clinics, success rates are not good, sorry . . . society is very inept and clumsy with the problem of opiates addiction. We should be giving it more attention at a state level - it should not be so much your problem, (so don't blame yourself); after all the state is letting the drugs in.

    Opiate addiction is very draining for everybody. The victim can seem very selfish as that is the nature of the drug (it's pretty ruthless), it can strip away concern for others, because of it being a pain killer - they just don't care about others, life or themselves in the same way. It's horrible because, really, the person is still there, but burried in a complex of bad behaviour. At the end of the day, your brother won't do anything to save himself until he is desperate enough to do so. You can't allow yourself to be dragged into his vortex when you are at a low point. The best people to help a heroin addict are confident and objective.

    If you are at the end of your tether you are telling yourself you can't handle your current situation anymore. You need to turn your routines and behaviour around and start helping yourself; break the pattern of automatically helping others. I'm not saying stop helping people, if you are a generous person, continue like that, but maybe you need to question it more - generosity into a vacuum might be misplaced. Don't get drawn into other people throwing away their own lives. You can not help anybody if you let your self down.

    Try to prioritise what is most important to you, (it can be very useful to write things down, in a diary, or just simple lists) who you can rely on, who you can't rely on, and who is actually bad for you. What are you prepared to do to change your life, and what do you think you can't do? I suppose your marriage and where you live are the biggest things. How much of a change do you want? They're tough questions aren't they? How do you feel about them and how much hope do you feel at the potential for change? You sound like a strong character - if you can use that strength for yourself (and you deserve it), then surely you could work at a better life?

    What about real friends / support, hopefully somebody in the family? From what you say (about getting a new job), you seem to have an inner strength, it's a matter of harnessing it. But you might want to consider professional advice (rather than help on the internet which is written and can be clumsy), Face to face help can be immediately responsive. Like Cobra said, is there anybody close you can trust or at least talk to honestly? You need somebody . . . you mention your friends have become busy and remote, that's a shame, that can happen as time goes by. And as your focus was possibly on dealing with relentless problems, maybe you didn't continue certain things which could have attracted new friends?

    There's always negative and positive, you being at your tether's end means you need to redress the balance. What are the positives in your life? These provide energy to resolve the negative things in life. Are there any things as a child, or later, that you always wanted to do put pushed aside because of duties, or other excuses? Maybe it would be a good opportuinty to pursue a dream? Any interests / hobbies? Pets? It's great what you said about your new job. It shows, you were able to solve that problem - changing jobs is difficult (I failed on that one). That is a great signifier of your energy and well worth being pleased about, maybe you will make friends there.

    When you solve a problem, it gives you energy to solve a bigger problem, after a few accomplishments you can then solve problems you thought you'd never handle. Take it all one issue / step at a time and don't look at the whole thing as an impossibility.

    I'd think, generally, your life partner is the one you should be able to rely on most? It's a real shame your husband isn't there for you and expects you to fit in with his needs (and doesn't respect / trust your privacy - this reveals a lack of respect). This is an important question: has your husband always been like this or for some reason has he changed, got lazy, discovered you are a 'soft touch' so exploits that? Maybe he has got depressed or bitter because of the way events have come down on you both?

    If he has always been the same he is unlikely to change; you need to think seriously about any future potential. I didn't like when you said he trashes you to his friends - that must hurt your self worth. Don't internalise his negative opinions of you. Ultimately, him 'trashing you' says more about the kind of person he has allowed himself to become - and do you really want to tag along? Like you said, you have already told him you'd leave: the road is paved, perhaps it's time to consider it?

    A flat of your own could be a blessed relief . . . and build things from there. Good luck with whatever you think is the right course.

  • I got carried away in writing that and meanwhile you wrote more in #3 regarding your husband and his condition, which you initially describe as 'traits of Aspergers' - that must be difficult to weigh up, how much is the condition and how much he is in control of. It's not nice to have such a condition, but then maybe it can be a crutch sometimes?

    Other people's needs - the question becomes how much can they subsume our lives? To what cost? It used to be that communities would share out such responsibilities. But then again "traits of". And he has a better job than you? How serious is it?

    And you have a daughter. How old is she? Is she happy and well?

  • Time for a deep breath and a simple pause for re-evaluation. The basic scenario is that you are "not your brother's keeper". Harsh though that may sound, we can pick our friends not our family. It comes down to prioritisation on the family front. My experience is that family give people more grief than anyone else (also for less thanks). There are professional organisations out there that may be able to your brother just as well, maybe even better than you, despite your efforts.

    As far as "loved ones" (husbands/wives/and all the other PC derivatives) they are chosen by us. If that choice does not seem so good on reflection, we can change our minds if we feel the need.

    Direct words, I'm afraid, but I'm not one for platitudes. You have to look after yourself foremost, lest you become unable to look after the others (and it strikes me that you want to look after the others)

    I hope it works out ok for you.

  • I have wasted a large amount of the little time i have on this planet pandering to other people....because I allowed it.Those people gave little back and are no longer in my life.I cannot get that time back it is gone forever.Those relationships were a reflection of low self esteem,that i did not value myself as I should of,nor did the takers.Time out a month far away?You never know you may bump into someone who gives you the respect and love you deserve.

    I lived with a heroin addict for a while.He started on cannabis then got involved with people into heroin.Nothing I ever tried to do to help him changed anything.In the end I moved away as he stole from me too often and I could no longer stand watching his slow motion suicide.Your life belongs to you,no body else.:hippylove:

  • Thank you for your wise words, guys you’re a great comfort. I started making changes a while back: I joined a singing group and an archery club - the people there are wonderful and encouraging. My new workmates are glad, not jealous when I do a good job. I do less housework- a bit of mess won’t kill anyone. I’m also distancing myself from my brother and some girlfriends and I are going on a weekend away this autumn. I want people around me who enjoy my gifts and if they don’t..well, they can smell my farts.

  • Thank you for your wise words, guys you’re a great comfort. I started making changes a while back: I joined a singing group and an archery club - the people there are wonderful and encouraging. My new workmates are glad, not jealous when I do a good job. I do less housework- a bit of mess won’t kill anyone. I’m also distancing myself from my brother and some girlfriends and I are going on a weekend away this autumn. I want people around me who enjoy my gifts and if they don’t..well, they can smell my farts.

    Good for you girl - be strong :)

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