Introductions and a little venting

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Just Got Here, May 1, 2012.

  1. Just Got Here

    Just Got Here New Member

    Hi, my name is Denise and I'm not a parent, but I think my family definitely has a conduct disorder ;) I basically just need a place to vent and let it all out, as for the most part everything that happens stays in between us. So if you don't mind reading a mini-novel, I'd love to explain a little...

    The reason I'm posting here is because of my Mom (50s) and Sister (21). Here's a little bit about them: Mom is very caring, expressing it in little things like doing you favors, thinking of something you forgot for you, taking some of your chores if you're really busy with finals, etc. She's been a stay-at-home mom for the past 25 years and isn't a social butterfly, so we're basically her only company. She can worry too much about things, and can feel that reminding someone of something is a sign of caring for them. She is not very expressive with her feelings, and partly to go a long with that neither our we.

    Sister is a very smart and curious person who dreams big but has a hard time getting started. She was home schooled and is now going to college, learning to drive, and looking for a job this summer so she can save up to get an apartment. She can do it, but the drive to do it is the hardest part. She self-diagnosed herself as having aspergers, possible adhd (worse when she was young), depressive tendencies, and asexual or at least demi. She can be very vocal and loud, and is the opposite of meek and mild :p She can be very critical and has to work hard on thinking positively of others. She also has a really hard time expressing her feelings, doing it better through writing, but she's embarrassed to have it read.

    While both are fine when you get to know them on their own, when combined, aka living together in one small house, their relationship is best explained as a big bowl of soured milk. One left out for several years. By my reckoning their not getting along has been happening for at least 5-6 years.

    Their personalities do not mesh well, at all, and we're basically lucky if they somehow make it through one day without a yelling match, normally with Sis doing the yelling, but Mom can eventually get worked up enough to yell too. Sis takes it as an insult when she's reminded of something, calls reminders 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) nagging', or 'trying to get a rise out of her'. Mom doesn't understand why she can't say anything 'without getting her head bitten off', and has said Sis can be like 'a rabid dog that you don't know if it will suddenly attack'. Things get worse when Sis is rude (saying anything while yelling sounds rude in my opinion) and Mom tells her she 'should be more respectful', then it just escalates from there until Sis slams the door to her room to get away and the yelling match continues through the door.

    We've gotten to the point where Sis, when told she wasn't being nice, says "I have no reason to be nice". She scoffs at the thought Mom cares about her, and doesn't believe if Mom says she wants things to be different. She sees the conflict resolution being this: She moves away, calls occasionally to tell the news, and has no real relationship for the rest of Mom's life. Mom wants a good relationship, but feels that it is only Sis's fault, and though she did read one book about family conflict resolution, she doesn't show much interest in reading anything else, getting outside help, or really implementing any changes. Both feel victimized and hurt. Mom occasionally uses the 'be respectful or don't live in this house' line, but doesn't mean it since she would then worry constantly about Sis not being ready to live by herself and what would happen to her.

    As far as the rest of the family, Dad is busy with working fulltime, going to school, and studying when he isn't asleep, so he basically isn't involved except to say he needs a house in the backyard to live in all by himself. I tend to get along well with Mom and Sis with no problem, chatting and doing stuff with either one. I admit I can get snappy too though, I just do it at longer intervals and with less intensity. I also go for the headphones and bedroom route to better avoid the fights, but that doesn't work well when they start at the dinner table.

    :hamwheelsmilf:Currently I feel like the constant fights are unpreventable. I've talked to them individually and together over and over for the past few years and have had zero results. They've both assured me that they're not the problem, it's the other one. Getting outside help is out of the question, since both say 'NO' to the very idea. They've tried talking about their problems, why they fight, and that also had zilch results. I think after so many straight years of fighting it's just the new normal at this point. Physical distance is starting to sound like a great resolution tactic about now :(
  2. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    Hi Denise,

    It's nice to "meet" you. As you know, it's impossible to change the relationship between your mother and sister. If your mother and sister aren't going to put in the effort necessary to have a better relationship with each other, and you're tired of the constant fighting, then in my humble opinion, provided you're at least 18 years of age, it's time for you to move out.

    Although I don't know enough about the situation, from the little I know, it sounds like it's time for your sister to move out. It sounds like she wants it all - The security of not having to provide for herself and the luxury of taking advantage of mom's not being able to let go. Your mother has a part in this too - For whatever reason, she is allowing your sister to take advantage of her caring nature, caring, in my humble opinion, to the point of being detrimental to both of them.

    Although my situation was very different from yours, I had to move my oldest son out of the house about three years ago. It was the best decision I ever made. With time, he and I got closer. Now, we're closer then we've ever been, and while I don't see him as much as I wish I could, the time we spend together is very special. Believe it or not, your mother and sister could end up having a wonderful relationship too, with a bit of time and some distance between them.

    Not sure if anything I said is helpful, take what you want, leave the rest, just my two cents... You sound like a very caring and loving person. Your family is lucky to have you... SFR
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi Denise.

    As I was reading the description, even before I got to the "she's self-diagnosed Asperger's" that is what I was thinking.

    Some things that might help:

    If your sister was still a little kid, I would recommend reading "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. But even though she's an adult, read it anyway.

    As for who is at fault - you need to get both of them away from fault or blame. It just IS. They are clashing because your mother equates the yelling with disrespect, and your sister equates reminding with lack of trust and lack of respect. They both need to drop the "I should be shown respect" attitude and let it wash over them. Stop biting, stop reacting. As soon as the hackles rise, they have lost the battle.

    Now it comes down to who needs to make the first move to change - it is your mother. Not because she is the one in the wrong - not at all. But because she is the adult. I know your sister is 21 and legally an adult, but she is immature and her brain is not 'cooked' yet. She simply does not have the social maturity she should have; ergo, she is a child. So the 'hero' in the situation has to be your mother.

    Get your mother to read up on "The Explosive Child". It does work, really it does. Especially if nothing else works.

  4. Hope2

    Hope2 bluemoon

    I had an 18 year old daughter who I had to ask to move out ..just because we fought over her messy habits..wouldnt clean anything up after herself..and that was the best ting that happened to our relationship..
    and my grandson who has lots of emotional problems and maybe some substance always respectful of me when he is here but to tell you the truth..I am seeing it too is a good thing he is in his own apartment..I still worry the same in both locations but the everyday little things that bother me are not around when he is on his own...I kind of think that is part of life..growing up and moving on..I know a lot can't do that because of emotional problem but when possible I think it is the best alternative...just thinking could you maybe ask your sister if she would like to go look at apartments with you...I don't know if you do things together but this might help her make up her mind....hope this helps a little..your are a great sister and daughter to care so much.......
  5. Hello Denise - welcome. It sounds to me like you are a very caring daughter and sister who wants to see harmony in your home.

    I agree with Marg - this has to start with your mother. Not because she is at fault. For one reason, she is older and more mature and for another she is the calmer of the two and would be more easily approached.

    There is some very good advice here from other posters so I won't repeat it. I would like to encourage you to go to counselling yourself if you can't convince at least your mother to go. I was always the type of person who thought I didn't need counselling - then we started having huge problems with our difficult child. husband and I have only been to 2 counselling sessions - best thing we could have done for ourselves. Getting an outside perspective is amazing and calming and empowering as well. It has made me realize many things. We will continue to go.

    As a parent, I think the biggest lesson I have learned lately is that my children's behaviour is not a reflection of the job I have done as a mother. That was a huge step for me to realize that if difficult child fails now it is not because I didn't do my job, it is because he has chosen to not use the skills, morals and lessons we have taught him. I wonder if your mom is always reminding or 'nagging' because she doesn't want any of you to fail and suffer the consequences. That's a hard thing to let happen. Parents never want to see their children fail.

    I wish you well. Come back and ask more questions - the people here are amazing and full of wonderful wisdom.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    HI Denise (we have the same name!)... I can imagine this is very stressful to be around, and sad too. I agree with the others. I think some work on yoru part will help too. This I can relate to from my own sibling relationships. We have worked really hard to love eachother, support each other and yet, to have strong boundaries about whose problem is it??? We listen and stopped trying to fix things for each other. It is NOT easy to do. Especially in your case, as the others have said...your sister is not fully grown up yet. She still has lots of brain growth and maturing to do. I hope your mom can make the decision to push her gently out of the nest. And I think giving yourself some distance is a great idea! You will always be connected, but it may help give some relief and perspective.

    You can set an example for both of them by creating a healthy boundary, showing support and love and not being co-dependent.

    (yeah, easy to say, right??) Anyway, glad you posted and hope you feel comfortable sharing when ever you feel the need....

    HUGS, Dee
  7. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Welcome Denise - at first couldn't figure why this post was on parenting forum but after reading yes now I get it. Was a little surprised at how family dynamics was sounding similar to mine. I play the part of your dad - there but trying to keep distance and stay out of middle of it. You the part of my 15yo - headphones on trying to stay out of the line of fire. My 27yo son plays the parts of both your mom & sister - an adult but stuck at home because of $$$, working a plan to get out on own but frustrated its not progressing on time table they want. how is he the mom? Oh yah its him & Angel screaming at each other all the time that is making this whole place toxic. The good news is it doesn't sound like you got an Angel stabbing anyone with a pencil over eating her cookie. (it was years ago please don't anyone start online petition to get her jailed LOL)

    As far as trying to change sis or mom - my mom is 81 yo and there is no changing her - she believes mental illness is all in your head, if you pretend something doesn't exist it doesn't, she is right and its the whole world that's wrong, oh and out to get her. If anyone had magic answer how to change someone else's behavior this site would have it on a permanent post at top of this forum.

    Sounds like your whole family is in a time of transition, might suggest that mom join an online support group for parents of difficult child's transitioning. It's within her comfort zone (unless like my mom and thinks computers are evil) anyone not saying what she wants to hear she just skips their post. At the very least she will know not alone and probably get some more ideas on how to ease the transition time because it looks like her baby birds are getting ready to test their wings.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Denise.
    Family Dynamics, oh, so fun. Not.
    Your sister could very well be Aspie.
    Still, she's old enough to move out. Sounds like you are, too.
    I agree with-the others, that your mom and dad have to take the lead ... it's their house, after all.
    I don't know enough about the rest of it to comment. I just know that 18-21 is the perfect age for independence.
    Best of luck! And maybe buy some earplugs ...