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Learned behaviours - April 29th 2011, 04:43 AM

I just feel in this vicious circle of helplessness. Like the only way to overcome it is to disown my family which is somewhat heartless. it's mainly the passive thing. My nan is extremely passive and my mum gets frustrated and stressed, but then she's also passive about things and then gets resentful of missed opportunities. Then there's the whole dependency thing. My nan being dependent on my mum to a ridiculous extent - you have to play mind reading games if there's a problem, and she won't just say what it is. I feel my mum acts out these dreadful scenes to make her somehow dependent on me - the heavy drinking, drinking with medication, suicide gests, premature death statements etc. She evens threatens me at birthdays saying I have to be around for my nan. This applies to x mas too. I simply can't take it anymore. I just want to dissapear off the face of the earth. What should I do? Thanks
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Re: Learned behaviours - April 29th 2011, 09:57 PM

I don't know what happened to cause your nan and mum to act this way, but I know one thing is clear: what they're doing now, these "tactics" they're resorting to, aren't effective. They are not happier or more satisfied with their situation because of their passive behavior. If I were you, I would point that out to them. Show them how being passive, then becoming upset later on, isn't actually helping them deal with their problems. If anything, it's counterproductive. Propose that everyone challenge themselves by trying to be more assertive when they want something - for example, speaking up when something bothers them, WHEN it bothers them (vs. several hours or days later).

If you believe one of your family members may be seriously contemplating suicide, I would tell another trusted family member - perhaps an aunt or uncle. If you don't have anyone in the family to turn to, you could try calling the police for information on how to help a family member that you believe is seriously contemplating suicide. Sometimes, it is possible to conduct forced interventions/hospitalizations on adults who are self-destructive. It's a long shot, but if you really think your family members need help, it's worth trying.

It's important to recognize what you can and cannot change in circumstances like these. You can try showing your family members how they can change for the better, but you can't ultimately force them to change. The only person you can change is yourself - so focus on what you can do for yourself. That may mean getting a full-time job and moving out. That may mean spending more time in your room or at friends' houses, so you're not constantly surrounded by all the negativity. That may mean slowly distancing yourself from your family in the emotional sense, so that if something does happen, it won't be as traumatic for you. That may mean finding other ways to cope, such as taking on new hobbies or responsibilities that force you to focus your mind on other things not relating to your family. Also, it couldn't hurt to look into free/low-cost psychological services - community clinics often offer one-on-one counseling for young adults like yourself. If you don't think that would be ideal for you, why not talk to a trusted adult - a neighbor, an old teacher, etc.?

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