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 Post subject: Others in denial.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:02 am 
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Hi all. I'm very new here and haven't gotten an actual diagnosis yet. I have an evaluation tomorrow morning. But, I have a question for you guys: how to you respond/handle when others around you insist that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you?

See, I am quite literally in a battle for my life and my family (husband and kids). My behavior hit a point that there is no denying that something is going on. I shared with my mom and an old friend that I was going to seek help for my alcohol abuse and for my "depression". I got the same response from both of them: "there's nothing wrong with you!".

My mom insists that I just have a "bad temper". My friend (a male) insists that I am just reacting to my husband and keeps giving me all kinds of advice about obtaining a lawyer. It irritates me beyond belief so I have just stopped communicating with them for now. I've told them something is wrong and they believe my husband is manipulating me so that he can use my illness against me in court for custody should it come to that. I can't make them understand that I am the one recognizing the problem and making the decision to get help. I have just recently started talking to my mom again after a 2-1/2 year estrangement and it hurts me to not be able to share with her or not talk to her. We used to be really super close. I need to talk to my dad about this because he has endured much from me and I owe him an explanation. What if he reacts the same way?

Why would people want to enable someone they care about to remain sick? Do they see that as "support"? How do you respond to people that have this type of reaction when you share something this important with them?


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 Post subject: Re: Others in denial.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:17 am 
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It's okay if they think there's nothing wrong with you. That's how they see things. That's what they choose to believe. You believe something different and there's nothing wrong with that either. That's how you see things. That's what you choose to believe. Those other people don't get the right to define your reality for you. It's okay if they believe differently from you. You all don't have to be on the exact same page at every single moment. If you're doing what's right and best for you, that's all that should matter to you.

If you can't get the support you want or need from Person A, see if you can get it from Person B and so on. You might not get what you're after until you get to Person L or Person X but it's best NOT to force a person to fit the mold you want them to fit into. That's partly why I named the book what I did - each person plays a role in our lives. Some may be for support, some are family, some are supportive family but we can't force a person to fit into the support spot if that's not the shape they're cut to. They may fit best in the lower right corner of the puzzle but if you're expecting them to be in the left-center area, it's a recipe for disaster and frustration - for both of you.

As for your dad, I say tell him whatever you want - with no expectation. Don't expect him to be supportive. Don't expect him to tell you there's nothing wrong with you. Just share what you want to share for the sake of sharing it and let things happen naturally. If he fits into the supportive family role, cool beans. If he resists what you tell him, set it aside and find another place for him in your puzzle - a place where you'll both be comfortable with each other.

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 Post subject: Re: Others in denial.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:25 am 
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Ash says some very wise things :)

LuvMyRodi wrote:
Why would people want to enable someone they care about to remain sick? Do they see that as "support"?


There could be all sorts of reasons.

Sometimes people just don't want things to change - change is threatening. They call it the "dysfunctional dance" when we all know our steps and just keep going round and round and nothing ever changes. When somebody starts to change their steps - or even talk about changing their steps - it can be threatening.

But that's just one possibility.

LuvMyRodi wrote:
How do you respond to people that have this type of reaction when you share something this important with them?


I'd look at Ash's response - it's OK for them to think what they want to, and it's OK for you to think something different. You are in charge of you - you are the captain of your own ship :)

You don't have to get the to agree to see it your way, and you don't have the power to make them do so.


(And I'd be a tad suspicious of a male friend who wants you to see a lawyer and leave your husband ... just an aside.)


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 Post subject: Re: Others in denial.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:22 am 
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It's really hard to go through all this without support from family and/or friends. But if you want to get well, you have to forge ahead, with or without them, and do what you have to do.

There can be a lot of reasons that people remain in denial. For some, it's just impossible for them to admit that there's mental illness in their family because of the general stigma against it. For others it's still more personal -- they may see some signs of trouble in themselves, and acknowledging that another family member is an alcoholic or has mental illness would make them fear that they themselves would be confronted about that and would be "outed." Or maybe family dynamics are such that bringing attention to issues like alcoholism or depression are considered "attention getting," and so the person doing so is pretty much dismissed.

I don't know whether any of that rings a bell for you, but no matter why you're facing this kind of a response, you have to decide what you're going to do about it. You can fold your tent and let your mother and your friend and any others who agree with them decide for you that the problem is all your husband and you're fine, etc., or you can pursue treatment regardless of their opinion. I hope you'll choose the latter, even though it's hard. I don't know whether you will be able to just quietly go about your business and not discuss this stuff with your mother or friends or whoever might question your decisions -- that, I'm sure, would be difficult, but if you could manage it, it would allow you to maintain a decent relationship with this people while taking steps to take care of yourself at the same time. You would have to say something like "Look, mom, I have to do what's right for me. I understand that you don't agree with me, but I need for you to not argue with me about this. So can we just agree not to discuss this one issue?"

In my case, my family didn't actively stand in my way, but they still didn't give me much support. It especially hurt that when I was hospitalized twice within six months, for a month at a time, I never got a single visit, phone call, or even a card, from my mother or either of my siblings. My husband, who I was in the middle of separating from, was far more supportive than anybody else. Besides him, I had one friend who came to the hospital to see me a couple of times, and other than that I felt I was fighting this battle completely alone. I know my situation was different than what you're facing, but I can still empathize.

If you are committed to getting better, and hopefully saving your marriage as well, I really hope you will move forward with getting treatment for both your alcohol abuse and your other issues. It does suddenly occur to me, as I write this, that another reason your mother might have for challenging you on this stuff could be custody issues if you do end up divorcing at some point -- she might feel that if you admit to mental health problems they will be held against you, so it would be better for you not to publicly admit any problems at all and pretend you're fine.

Obviously I don't know you, your husband, anybody else in your family, or the specific issues you all are dealing with. But my feeling is that you need to get better FOR YOU, not because it might save your marriage but because you deserve to live a happier, healthier life. If that leads to saving your marriage that's wonderful, but your health is foremost. Staying married but also staying unhealthy because you hide your problems and avoid treatment in fear of custody problems or whatever isn't really smart, in my opinion. What will probably happen if you choose that route is that you will continue to abuse alcohol, and have all sorts of BPD issues like rage and distrust, etc., and eventually your husband will leave anyway, so you will have gained nothing. So if I were you, I'd go ahead with your evaluation tomorrow and see what is recommended for you -- they may order some more testing before giving you an opinion -- and then take it day by day. Make it clear to your husband that you're committed to treatment and to your family, and that you hope he'll stand by you as you work through all this.

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 Post subject: Re: Others in denial.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:26 pm 
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One possible way to reply: "I'm glad you think I'm okay as I am. But, still, I have things I need to work on, for myself.".

Possibly adding: "... and I hope you will support me in that."

There statements strike as both validating and invalidating. Validating in that they say that you are acceptable as you are. Invalidating because they invalidate your view that you have stuff to work on. And the statements may be a misguided attempt at validation.

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 Post subject: Re: Others in denial.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:29 pm 
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Ellen, I love your insight! That's a great way to deal with their comments. One thing I wanted to say, was that even if you DO have bpd, it may not affect your custody with the kids. If you are actively seeking/getting help, willing to get help if you do have it, and taking medication if/when it's prescribed, then there is no reason for them to take your children.
My birth mother was bipolar, and NEVER took medication. She had full custody of me for 3 years, then joint for 6, then none after that. Shortly after the custody battle was over, she abandoned me. If somebody with that kind of illness, and that kind of behaviour can keep her child, then you have more than a fighting chance my dear! It's what you do at this point and forward that will determine how mentally well you'll be. Admitting that there is something wrong when everyone seems to be against you, AND sticking with your intuition throughout it, shows you have the drive to do whatever you need to so you can be well again.
I know its hard to get a handle on your emotions, especially when you're going through such an emotional time, but just do the best you can. When you feel so angry you wanna scream at someone, go crush pop cans. SERIOUSLY. If you've got recycling to go out, rip up the paper towel rolls, crush boxes and cans and bottles, rip an old phone book. These provide you impact and energy release, feels so good. If you're not into that, you can try cleaning your house, like really scrubbing, or go outside and tend the garden, pull weeds n stuff. Anger has been the hardest thing for me to deal with and any kind of release is usually all I need. Find ones that work for you and even when you do still have episodes, they won't be as bad and you'll feel better after (if not, go beat the snot outta the garbage!).
In the meantime, welcome to the site, know that no matter what you go through, whether you are or you aren't, the people on this site are here to support you, offer you guidance, empathize with you, and make you smile when you haven't in days. Even when the people in your life are in denial, or just can't see it, you can come here, speak freely, and feel better.

HUGS

Keeks


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 Post subject: Re: Others in denial.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:42 pm 
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Ash wrote:
It's okay if they think there's nothing wrong with you. That's how they see things. That's what they choose to believe


Ash, I never really thought about it like that. Obviously I have a huge amount of thinking that I have to relearn. To me it seemed more like they were trying to sabotage me getting help rather than just showing a lack of support. You are right though, they are entitled to their own thoughts and the only one responsible for me is me.

auspicious wrote:
Sometimes people just don't want things to change - change is threatening. They call it the "dysfunctional dance" when we all know our steps and just keep going round and round and nothing ever changes. When somebody starts to change their steps - or even talk about changing their steps - it can be threatening.


My mom strikes me this way. Oh, and I have no doubt about ulterior motives from the male friend. I think he is trying to be charming and tell me what he thinks I want to hear. I have known him for years & years, but it is obvious that he doesn't know me at all.

Sari wrote:
But my feeling is that you need to get better FOR YOU, not because it might save your marriage but because you deserve to live a happier, healthier life. If that leads to saving your marriage that's wonderful, but your health is foremost.


Sari, everything you said makes so much sense. You are right in every area, but especially in this one. This is the one thing I keep telling myself when doubts about the possible consequences of seeking help arise. I don't have doubts about going to the appointment and doing what I need to do, I just worry that some of it may blow back on me later.

Sari wrote:
It does suddenly occur to me, as I write this, that another reason your mother might have for challenging you on this stuff could be custody issues if you do end up divorcing at some point -- she might feel that if you admit to mental health problems they will be held against you, so it would be better for you not to publicly admit any problems at all and pretend you're fine.


I know for a fact she feels this way. However, if I continue on my present course it is a guarantee that my actions will be held against me and I will end up in a custody battle. I can't be any good to myself or my kids until I get a handle on this. My husband is willing to go the distance with me as long as he sees me trying. He will go to counseling (including marriage counseling) and whatever else he needs to do. If the marriage doesn't work, I need to be in a place where I can handle it and be able to take care of my children. So, quitting is not an option.......I will seek treatment and do anything necessary to be better.

Ellen, thank you for the suggested comments. I will definitely use those if it comes up again.

Keester, thanks for the reassurance on the custody thing and advice for how to relieve aggression. I am able to talk to my husband and to my best friend and that is good. But it feels good to talk to people who have actually BTDT.

I appreciate you guys taking the time to talk with me. I have been working very hard at controlling my reactions to things. I am trying to learn how not to hold other people responsible for not giving the responses I want. I know that's what this thread is about: them not giving me the reaction I wanted, but listening to you guys puts it in a different perspective and makes it easier for me to let it go. KWIM? I am paying more attention to how I respond in these situations and paying more attention to what I say before I say it. So, you have helped a bunch in this situation. Thanks. (I know I haven't started any formal treatment yet, but it is never too soon to begin self improvement, right? ;) )


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