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Parents being sorry

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Parents being sorry

Postby Akuma » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:01 pm

Some of you may know I walk to my grandma every week to buy her groceries.
It turned out like that because a few years ago I was calling her and we were somehow getting to the topic of her food and she said she only had dry bread to eat, which after first thinking this was a joke, realized that it was actually true. So I decided - on top of being irritated that her children or more mobile grandchildren didnt care about this - to get her groceries... and it became a regular thing.
Since I cant drive a car due to health issues I walk there, which takes me about an hour.
So today, since there is a fair close by, I was calling her to check if she needs something since I was on my way to the fair and I would come around, before grabbing some candy on the fair for myself. So she tells me it "must have been telepathy", because she is in need of milk. While on my way I call my mother, who to my surprise tells me that she was just at my grandmothers place this morning. Inquiring why she didnt buy milk her reply was that "it was a spontaneous visit" - when I voiced certain irritation she told me if I wouldnt want to do it this week, I could do it next week when I buy her groceries. Now keep in mind the grocery store is 5 mins per foot from there and my mom has a car, while I walk there an hour. Arriving at my grandmothers I ask her about it and she starts defending my mom, too, explaining that she "just wanted to show me some pictures" and that she "had to go to town" etc.
Now this isnt the first time this happened, I guess in the past three years this must have happened like five times. It also happened with an aunt who was buying stuff from town for my grandma and then left and my grandmother called me shortly afterwards if I could come around to put the trashbins out. Back then I called my mom being rather irritated why I should walk there now for some ######6 trashbins while my aunt had just been there, and there, too, it was all excuses along the lines of "your aunt has so much [problems / stuff to do] already" etc.
Now aside from one more nail in the coffin of my family being a sack of $#%^, and to where all my possibly silently introjected ideas about being bad comes from, I was wondering... the normal response would be to apologize, wouldnt it. I mean if I do something wrong, then I apologize for that and am not trying to find reasons why it's not an issue or why someone else is at fault.
So - on-topically apologizing here for the extremely lengthy introduction to such a short question - anyone else has parents who are unable to realize they're wrong or saying sorry?
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Re: Parents being sorry

Postby Philonoe » Sun Sep 22, 2019 2:44 pm

Akuma wrote:Some of you may know I walk to my grandma every week to buy her groceries.
It turned out like that because a few years ago I was calling her and we were somehow getting to the topic of her food and she said she only had dry bread to eat, which after first thinking this was a joke, realized that it was actually true. So I decided - on top of being irritated that her children or more mobile grandchildren didnt care about this - to get her groceries... and it became a regular thing.
Since I cant drive a car due to health issues I walk there, which takes me about an hour.

Hi Akuma, i read here and there some about your story but probably not all.
You seem to care for your grandma. It's certainly good for her food and health, and good for her in general to have your regular presence.

So today, since there is a fair close by, I was calling her to check if she needs something since I was on my way to the fair and I would come around, before grabbing some candy on the fair for myself. So she tells me it "must have been telepathy", because she is in need of milk.

Here... well, yes she needs milk - and she'll be happy to see you.

While on my way I call my mother, who to my surprise tells me that she was just at my grandmothers place this morning. Inquiring why she didnt buy milk her reply was that "it was a spontaneous visit" - when I voiced certain irritation she told me if I wouldnt want to do it this week, I could do it next week when I buy her groceries. Now keep in mind the grocery store is 5 mins per foot from there and my mom has a car, while I walk there an hour. Arriving at my grandmothers I ask her about it and she starts defending my mom, too, explaining that she "just wanted to show me some pictures" and that she "had to go to town" etc.

Here is the question : do you think milk was really important for her? Or that she needed milk and would be happy to see you if you are around?

Now this isnt the first time this happened, I guess in the past three years this must have happened like five times. It also happened with an aunt who was buying stuff from town for my grandma and then left and my grandmother called me shortly afterwards if I could come around to put the trashbins out. Back then I called my mom being rather irritated why I should walk there now for some ######6 trashbins while my aunt had just been there, and there, too, it was all excuses along the lines of "your aunt has so much [problems / stuff to do] already" etc.

Same : is that so important to put trashbins out that day? Maybe she can close the plastic bag and wait for some days.

Now aside from one more nail in the coffin of my family being a sack of $#%^, and to where all my possibly silently introjected ideas about being bad comes from, I was wondering... the normal response would be to apologize, wouldnt it.



Let's project own history on yours.
I come from family with narcissistic traits, specially on my mother's side. That means that people are enmeshed to each other and it's difficult to sort and preserve myself.
What i do is - as much as possible - try to relate 1-1 and protect boundaries.
So if i look at your story, here is what i see :

You offer your time each week for your grandma. So she should think of asking you for milk and the trashbin out that day. If not, sorry, you don't have infinite time. Sorry grandma, i come on thursday. We'll do it that day.
But you don't do that. You decide there is emergency and it should be done immediately.
Then resent other family members

I mean if I do something wrong, then I apologize for that and am not trying to find reasons why it's not an issue or why someone else is at fault.

You mean she is at fault about you or about grandma?

What i read makes me remember the plenty of tracks that i try to protect me of. Mother sees grandma? It's her problem. Maybe grandma didn't ask mother because she prefers to see you. We don't know. All people have different reasons.

Now there is a practical problem. Grandma has lost autonomy and needs regular help. If for you it's heavy, a solution should be found to help her. Depending of the country and the context, there can be help provided. Maybe grandma or mother or some family members can pay some neighbour to help grandma regularly.
Of course it's precious to have grandson helping, provided it's ok for him and it stays in certain limits.

So - on-topically apologizing here for the extremely lengthy introduction to such a short question - anyone else has parents who are unable to realize they're wrong or saying sorry?

In my experience, consistent sorry is very rare. Particularly coming from parents.

My comments come from own history and difficulties. Of course i don't know your context. I just explained how i see things with own family
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Re: Parents being sorry

Postby Akuma » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:46 am

Here is the question : do you think milk was really important for her? Or that she needed milk and would be happy to see you if you are around?


Well another family member has told me two years ago that her dependence on groceries might also be an attempt to have someone around. In addition, looking into that direction the symbolic nature of milk doesnt elude me. But then I feel used. What connects to me being pissed about what my mom said about "just doing it next week", because it implies that its a natural thing to do that is just expected, while I am doing it exactly because apparently it's not natural apparently for the other family members, including grandchildren who actually have cars. It gets complicated additionally by the fact that I really dont like my grandma, or at least my conscious part doesnt. I mean she was originally my surrogate caregiver but really rarely wanted to play with me or anything as a kid; and from a more adult perspective she is a rather weak person who is very egocentric and doesnt admit to her faults. For example she is complaining about grandpa not being able to walk normally anymore, while it's her who canceled the therapy activating him, because it was "too much" for her. So now feeling expected to be there for her is quite a strain in terms of conflicting inner states.

But you don't do that. You decide there is emergency and it should be done immediately.
Then resent other family members


Well in this specific case with the milk I was on my way anyways, because I wanted to take a walk and I was pissed primarily because I find it hard to grasp how my mom or aunt or whoever can't just ask if she needs something when you are ######6 around already. Its true though I dont like to put things off - but this might in the case of the trashbins have more to do with my ambivalences towards my grandmother, especially about where her old age (91) starts, and where her personality pathology ends.
Hm I cant remember the word now. Theres this skill where you draw boundaries and kind of explain what your position is and how far you go. I still suck at that; but also at even knowing what I want heh.

Now there is a practical problem. Grandma has lost autonomy and needs regular help. If for you it's heavy, a solution should be found to help her. Depending of the country and the context, there can be help provided. Maybe grandma or mother or some family members can pay some neighbour to help grandma regularly.
Of course it's precious to have grandson helping, provided it's ok for him and it stays in certain limits.


Well they are having services already because grandma is "caring" for her husband who has dementia. I'm not clear about this.
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Re: Parents being sorry

Postby realityhere » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:54 pm

Hi akuma,

It's understandable that you feel "used" and ambivalent about both your grandma and family members who visit her but don't help out while there at her place. Your grandmother is at an age when it's difficult to get around physically, so there is that to consider. The other part may be that asking for milk is her way of getting to see you on a semi-regular basis to get some attention. With a husband who has dementia, she could be climbing the walls for adult conversation, however brief, and relief from the "sick room" atmosphere that likely focuses a lot of attention on her husband in their home.

Have you considered making your walk to Grandma's a routine thing, like every Thursday, for example, and asking Grandma if she needs anything? This way you commit to that one day of the week (your boundary), whether or not other family members have come to visit or help out (or not). You can also state what chores you can do or won't do for for her. If you don't want to take out the trashbins, then make that clear with your grandma, e.g. You have your limits, and caretakers should limit the demands, otherwise they get burnout. You can't change others' behavior, but you can put down some boundaries for yourself.

From my experience of looking after elderly parents-in-law, it's no picnic. However, there does come a time when an elderly person can no longer drive or do some things for him/herself and needs family assistance with daily living. Some have partners who are no longer mentally capable of having a reasonable conversation with and that can get pretty lonely. Being in touch with family members probably makes your grandma's life a little more bearable.
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Re: Parents being sorry

Postby covertunsure » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:58 pm

I'm impressed and admire that you care about your relatives. Doesn't that by definition not fit with the dx of NPD? Not questioning your dx, just curious.
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Re: Parents being sorry

Postby Akuma » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:49 pm

covertunsure wrote:I'm impressed and admire that you care about your relatives. Doesn't that by definition not fit with the dx of NPD? Not questioning your dx, just curious.


If youre wondering about "lack of empathy", no thats a popular simplification.
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Re: Parents being sorry

Postby ZeroZ » Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:02 pm

There is a high probability she is lonely and wants company and she may even be afraid being alone and might like someone checking in on her occasionally, I’ve seen this happen myself. I can see your frustration with other family members but maybe she prefers for you to visit. If I’m correct that you tend to lead a very Schizoid like lifestyle and don’t get out much they may see this as beneficial for you too (getting you out of the house) I’m just speculating but these are things I’ve run into myself.
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Re: Parents being sorry

Postby Philonoe » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:49 am

Akuma wrote:
Here is the question : do you think milk was really important for her? Or that she needed milk and would be happy to see you if you are around?

Well another family member has told me two years ago that her dependence on groceries might also be an attempt to have someone around. In addition, looking into that direction the symbolic nature of milk doesnt elude me. But then I feel used.

It's interesting that i tend to feel opposite. I accept to offer some regular presence to older family member (if not too heavy) and i put limits when family asks for more practical help

What connects to me being pissed about what my mom said about "just doing it next week", because it implies that its a natural thing to do that is just expected,

Yes i understand - plus she enters in your relationship with grandma - and she takes your presence for granted.

while I am doing it exactly because apparently it's not natural apparently for the other family members, including grandchildren who actually have cars. It gets complicated additionally by the fact that I really dont like my grandma, or at least my conscious part doesnt. I mean she was originally my surrogate caregiver but really rarely wanted to play with me or anything as a kid; and from a more adult perspective she is a rather weak person who is very egocentric and doesnt admit to her faults. For example she is complaining about grandpa not being able to walk normally anymore, while it's her who canceled the therapy activating him, because it was "too much" for her. So now feeling expected to be there for her is quite a strain in terms of conflicting inner states.

in my own experience conflicting inner states take sometimes much energy. I try to take decision then follow decision (then protect myself from people around as much as possible)

but this might in the case of the trashbins have more to do with my ambivalences towards my grandmother, especially about where her old age (91) starts, and where her personality pathology ends.

I can understand that.
Plus if she was always egocentrical, maybe there are plenty of dynamics around her that take energy.

I experienced that with some family member. Be so centered on them that i was forgetting myself. Like for instance be preoccupied (i just imagine this) that their dog should be washed weekly while i had no time to buy food for myself

Hm I cant remember the word now. Theres this skill where you draw boundaries and kind of explain what your position is and how far you go. I still suck at that; but also at even knowing what I want heh.

I think one never knows exactly - but can take decision and review them just sometimes.
I never draw boundaries with my family because they'll try to cross the line
I do protect boundaries instead

For instance if they say (i imagine) : please can go to grandma and water the flowers i'd say : i'm sorry i can't (or something like that).
It's not their problem to know that i decided to go to the grocery regularly for grandma and that's enough for me

it's how i (try to) protect myself

Well they are having services already because grandma is "caring" for her husband who has dementia. I'm not clear about this.

I suppose it's good for them to have your regular visit. It sound like very structured thing. Very clear.
Depending how heavy it is for you...
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Re: Parents being sorry

Postby Akuma » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:35 pm

It's interesting that i tend to feel opposite. I accept to offer some regular presence to older family member (if not too heavy) and i put limits when family asks for more practical help


I think its probably part of the affect isolation where I can just function in a way that might not necessarily have a lot to do with what i might be feeling somewhere inside.
If you dont have such a disconnect it makes sense that practical help might have more meaning for you and may necessitate more boundary-setting.

I experienced that with some family member. Be so centered on them that i was forgetting myself. Like for instance be preoccupied (i just imagine this) that their dog should be washed weekly while i had no time to buy food for myself


I think some people are often very busy evacuating stuff into other people, deflecting stuff or just generally trying to control people around them. So if you show that you are an individual and you are in fact a seperate being, or you have needs yourself, or feelings that are not in par with what they want, then you will either become demonized or you will basically be surrounded by stuff that they are just deflecting. When I explained to my grandma for example that I am angry at my mother, at the end she laughed about it. She has no way to deal with this apparently. Maybe sometimes an automatism to become so wrapped up in their demands is just a way to get around the drama and crackles and explosions thats to be expected when you want to actually start unwrapping yourself.

It's not their problem to know that i decided to go to the grocery regularly for grandma and that's enough for me


Sorry, I didnt understand what you mean here.

I suppose it's good for them to have your regular visit. It sound like very structured thing. Very clear.
Depending how heavy it is for you...


I actually aborted the whole thing now. Of course my grandma didnt take it well, but also didnt have any interest in actualyl understand my position. Kind of waiting for the angry call of my mom lol.
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Re: Parents being sorry

Postby Philonoe » Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:21 pm

Akuma wrote:If you dont have such a disconnect it makes sense that practical help might have more meaning for you and may necessitate more boundary-setting.

yes. It can look infinite

It's not their problem to know that i decided to go to the grocery regularly for grandma and that's enough for me


Sorry, I didnt understand what you mean here.

I say that the more i explain the more boundaries i offer to cross :wink:
I can draw the line in my mind (for instance, if i compare to your story, decide that i do enough with the grocery) but i'll never say "i do the grocery and it's enough" because then they'll naturally ask for more something like that
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