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Is it possible to just stop caring about them?


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Hi all, 

First post, not sure if I'm doing this thing right. For any grammar mistakes, I do apologise, Engrish isn't my first language. 

I'm 23F, the situation I'm in is hard to explain and quite frankly I don't think I have the words to express the pain it has caused me over the years, how I still struggle with it, but am trying to let go and move on. 

I have never had a good relationship with my family. My dad I love. He has been mean, verbally abusive, and intimidating in the past, but I do not hold a grudge. He was raised differently and despite the past, he loves me unconditionally. I know that. 

My mother, however, is a very manipulative woman, often cruel. She had an affair when I was entering teenagehood (an awkward phase anyway) and when it blew up in her face, she became angry. Mainly at me. I think I had a lot of emotional issues as a child, abandonment fears, co-dependency issues. She would yell, say horrible things, frighten me. She'd threated me on the way to school that if I don't behave, she will leave and never come back. She would threaten to dump me by the side of the road and drive away. Things got better for a little while when I had guinea pigs. I had "support" in a way, I've had guinea pigs ever since I moved out at 17. Absolutely love them, fun little creatures. But I still had problems and lots of them. I started skipping school, developed severe depression, began acting incredibly antisocial and became suicidal. I don't really have "people skills" now. It doesn't bother me but does make me feel like I'm different I guess. I don't have much memory of my late childhood/teenage years. I spent time in a children's mental hospital to get my diagnosis and be homeschooled. I felt like I was forced into a small box, my mother cares about her reputation a lot, so I wasn't allowed to freely express myself, experiment with my looks, with who I am, my hobbies, so growing up was confusing. I kept trying to be more like my mother. She's always very dolled up, fancy expensive clothes, hair done and what not. I believed her when she said that all of what's happened has been my fault, she'd say she pitied me and that I'd never become anything. So I wanted to be like her.

My older brother and younger sister she has always adored. I remember listening to them having movie nights and all while I was upstairs in my room alone. There were times I tried asking her why are things like this, why can't we talk, why can't we get along, and she would just blame me, while I was just a depressed child. Memories like that still hurt. 

Years passed like this, seeing my mother loving on my siblings, feeling tossed aside, having mother turn my siblings against me, receiving childish "5th grade mean girl" kind of stares from them, being talked about poorly behind my back, being cast out by the rest of my extended family, being constantly ridiculed by them and disrespected, time's just gone by like that. I've grown mostly numb to it but I still care. I work with my family, it is my father's company and despite all the issues in my family, I have a very good position and a great future in this company. It does make the workplace very toxic, and sometimes, whenever my mother needs something from me, she acts nice to me for just enough time and something breaks in me every single time because I start hoping for something. It's manipulative and leaves me exhausted emotionally. 

It's my family, not random people. Can I just shut it out eventually? I am trying to look out for myself here, I love my job, it pays my home loan, if things keep going the way they do, I will be one of the co-owners of the company one day. But all this manipulative, sorry, crap is taking a toll on me. I have considered therapy but going to therapy to "stop caring about my family I choose to stay around" sounds, well, off. Regarding my personal problems due to my childhood and the emotional neglect, I think I am doing okay. I've learned to love myself, I have many hobbies/talents and skills I have learned over the years because it makes me feel proud, what's important to me is that I am also finally expressing myself openly now without giving a damn. I wear the clothes I want, have tattoos and dye my hair a new colour when I feel like it. I also have a few genuinely good people in my life now. I am okay! 

But can I just let it go 100% eventually? How? 

-I'm sorry for the length of this, I think it felt good to write this out for once-

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5 hours ago, TacticalLinguine said:

I have considered therapy but going to therapy to "stop caring about my family I choose to stay around" sounds, well, off.

Why? I think therapy is very good choice for dealing with the past traumas and learning how to answer when your mother tries manipulation. 

Most of the social skills can be learned and get picked through life within some limits. You wont become "master debater" but you can always learn how to at least interact with people. To ask questions, pick up some social ques, that all can be learned within some limits. Therapy should also help with that. 

Can you stop carying 100%? Probably not. That would require a complete overhaul of your persona, especially if you are carying person in general. Therapy isnt a magic wand. But again, you can learn to deal with some stuff differently. Which would help you lead your life in a better way. 

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5 hours ago, TacticalLinguine said:

 I work with my family, it is my father's company and despite all the issues in my family, I have a very good position and a great future in this company. It does make the workplace very toxic, and sometimes, whenever my mother needs something from me, she acts nice to me for just enough time and something breaks in me every single time because I start hoping for something. It's manipulative and leaves me exhausted emotionally. 
 

I’d lower expectations drastically and let her be who she is. I agree therapy may be able to help you with this if you feel trapped in the same dynamic or cycle. You can’t help the way you feel but you can start to retrain yourself in how you view a person and what your expectations are.

Over time you automatically adjust. If you do this often enough or get the hang of it you’ll eventually have more space, time, love in your heart not to feel exhausted and frustrated so badly. The main issue is that you’re still expecting a great deal from your mother and she’s not that person to you. 

Find joy and balance in other areas and it’s a good thing you have friends you can count on. They’re your chosen family so cherish those relationships and nurture them. Stay in tune with your interests and hobbies and use them as productive outlets. Everything that your mother is not, you can be. She may be an example actually of what you never want to be as a mother, matriarch or leader professionally or personally.

And I’d like to add as well, in that void, don’t become bitter and focus your life on her. Something I found useful was in observing individuals I did respect. Start forming clear ideas of what you want to see more of in your world to fill that void of not seeing it in a parent or someone you might have looked up to: traits, work ethics, approaches. Develop new ways you’d wish to live not just in your looks but character-wise. 

Edited by Rose Mosse
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I thinking trying not to care actually has the opposite effect.

 talk to a therapist about accepting this situation. maybe once you've accepted that it's your choice to continue to work for the company for the future benefit, some of the feelings will fade.

It's hard because it's your family and you're still in contact.  So you never really get away from it. I think the answer is to work it out for yourself, in a way that you feel empowered.

For example you can't control anyone else, but you can control your reactions and actions.

It might be something like, I love my family because they are my family but I keep my personal life separate to protect myself from their poor behavior. 

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You can still love your family but keep distance due to them treating you badly and it’s perfectly fine.

I also agree with others saying you could talk to a therapist. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, they are professional like a counsellor, with years of experience dealing with and diagnosing people that cause harm to others (not you) and strategies on how to deal with such people.

Im not a psychologist but I suspect your mother may have some form or narcissism. I came across a person recently in my workplace that is a malignant narcissist and I came across this website / YouTube channel called Surviving Narcissism, which helped me understand the mindset of such a person and best strategies to deal with them and have peace of mind.

Edited by mical
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11 hours ago, TacticalLinguine said:

I work with my family, it is my father's company and despite all the issues in my family, I have a very good position and a great future in this company. It does make the workplace very toxic, and sometimes, whenever my mother needs something from me, she acts nice to me for just enough time and something breaks in me every single time because I start hoping for something. It's manipulative and leaves me exhausted emotionally.

Can you find another place to work at? If your family is really that toxic, I'd even consider moving states.

Financial security is very important, but so is your well-being.

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It's possible.  Enforcing healthy boundaries will give you peace. 

There are times when wishful thinking and trying to make it work isn't realistic. 

It's easier to create boundaries if you can afford it meaning if you are not financially independent, you have less choices, unfortunately.  If you need toxic people in your life in order to eat, then they have money power over you and will manipulate the relationship.

The only way you will have freedom and boundaries is for you to be free of people who are not good to you.  That's what you need to work on:  Financial independence.  Once you pay your own way in this world in order to survive, you are in the driver's seat now.  No one can control you anymore.  You call all the shots.

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21 hours ago, TacticalLinguine said:

I have considered therapy but going to therapy to "stop caring about my family I choose to stay around" sounds, well, off.

My heart goes out to you, and no, it doesn't sound off. It's exactly why therapists were invented.

Don't try to diagnose yourself or censor yourself for therapy--the goal is to bring it all there, and remember that they work for you. They are trained to help you learn what to do with your stuff and to give you the tools and coping strategies to help you thrive.

I hope you'll consider giving yourself this kind of outlet and gift. You deserve to be heard and supported.

Head high, and write more if it helps.

 

 

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Thanks for the replies! I have read them through many-many times and have taken them all to heart. 

I'm glad I posted, you raised a very good point - instead of telling myself every morning "I won't care today", I should be more mature here and learn to accept the people in my life for what they are, no matter how I perceive them. It is what it is.

I also took the plunge and called my doctor for a referral to a psychologist/psychotherapist after another incident with mother that left me pissed off for allowing myself to be used again. I'm afraid I'll feel like a total moron going there with this story, but maybe it will help bring me some peace and perhaps we can explore the lost memories, who knows. 

I'll see how the next weeks go. I've noticed I've been checking available jobs here and there, despite my current job being excellent, sometimes I just want to go. 

Hope you have a good one!

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17 hours ago, TacticalLinguine said:

I'm afraid I'll feel like a total moron going there with this story, but maybe it will help bring me some peace and perhaps we can explore the lost memories, who knows. 

This kind of critical self talk is the stuff you've absorbed from being mistreated for so many years. It has you picking up where the cruel members of your family leave off.

You will NOT sound like a moron. You'll sound like an intelligent person who recognizes that something isn't right, and that certain self-loving life skills were never taught properly to you.

I'm so sorry for what you've lived through, and you deserve the kindness of a great therapist. You may also want to consider asking for a referral to a female coach or mentor who is roughly your mother's age.

Head high.

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