Some help with family and the past needed.


I’ve joined this site tonight because I have a lot of issues that I would like to get off of my chest and I’d like some advice and the opinions of anyone kind enough to reply. I’m not sure how to really do this so I’m just going to dive right in:

My parents separated when I was two and I never saw my father or his side of the family again. My mum took care of me and my brother with the help of my gran and papa.

My mum dated some men and she had 2 serious relationships - my brother and I got on well with one of them but didn’t like the other. When I was about 12 she met another man whose name was Mark - they dated for a while, got engaged and bought a house together.

Mark was a very unstable man who came out of the army and had a hard time coping with civilian life; he was a very controlling man with a bad temper. My mum is a lovely woman but at the time she lacked in confidence and wanted nothing more than to settle down, get married and live a peaceful life.

Mark and my mum had had a big argument one night and she then took an overdose - she was found and admitted to hospital and survived. When she came out of the hospital she did not have any time for my brother or I and only wanted to see Mark but they were continuing to argue and in fact they never really stopped arguing for the 7 years they were together.

My brother and I despised Mark. My brother is 3 years older that I am and he retreated into his shell, he spent most of his days locked up in his room playing an online game and never really spoke to anyone. I spent most of my day shouting and arguing with Mark and eventually my mother as well because I thought she was weak.

When I was about 15 I told them both that I was going to leave and it caused the family to break up - my grandparents and my mums sisters believed that Mark was not a nice man and he was turning my mum into a terrible person and when my mum didn’t allow me to go and live with my grandparents the entire family stopped speaking to her.

The arguments continued but I took a step back, I let them fight and didn’t get involved. When I was 16 I left home and moved in with my grandparents and I lived with them for about a year and a half.

My mum cut off contact with me but after about a year I called her and we had arranged to meet up, our relationship got better and eventually she told me that she wanted to break up with Mark but that she needed my help and she asked me to move back in. I did this and after a while the two of them broke up although it resulted in Mark attempting to strangle my mum for which he was arrested.

My relationship with my mum flourished and continues to do so, she supported me through university and I now live quite far away from home but we keep in touch regularly.

I felt completely to blame that my family didn’t speak to her and through time my mum and my gran have started to speak again but not often.

My gran is very judgemental and gossips with one of my mums sisters about everyone in the family but none so harshly as me and my mum.

The reason all of this has come up in my mind is because I’ve come back home to visit family and I had a drink last night and all of this came flooding out, I had a big argument with my mum where I demanded to know why she had never defended me against Mark, why she didn’t love me and so on. We’ve made up now and I feel awful for having brought it up

The problem I have is that I feel like an awful person: I feel responsible for breaking up the family, for upsetting my mum and I generally just feel like a jerk.

I’d like some honest opinions on this. I want to be able to accept the past and change who I am, I want to be a good person and someone who my mum can be proud of!

I don’t know if there is anything else you need to know…I’m 24 and I’m writing from Scotland.

Thanks in advance.

I suggest some professional help and counseling . I doubt that you were the reason for the family breakup; however, you feel that way. Talking to a professional may help. It helped me although my circumstances weren’t like yours. Mine wasn’t so bad in comparison.

That’s a lot of intertwined complicated dynamics. Concur that if you have the means, a professional family therapist could provide better insights and advice. But I am glad your mom was able to find the strength to boot Mark out of her life. I hope that’s a permanent thing.

How old are you now?

Consumed by guilt… feeling like a jerk… bearing too much responsibility for the whole extended family even though you were a CHILD… Yeah. Very familiar sounding. Guilt is a disease. You need to see a doctor for it.

Talk to a professional. They’ll help you forgive yourself, help you forgive your mom, your grandmother, and even Mark.

I’m 24 now - this all happened between the ages of 12 and 17. I know that my family have some deep issues but they don’t wish to fix them. I need help in learning to overcome/accept the past and grow more confident.

Oh, and this book may help: Love is a Choice. Ignore the blah blah Christian woo in the description, it’s a very practical book. It helped me deal with my family issues and get healthier.

I think you should be quite proud of they way you dealt with this overall.

Another vote for seeing a counsellor. There was a lot going on in your childhood that you had no control over, but it sounds like you’re carrying a lot of guilt for things that were in no way your fault.

Best of luck to you in sorting some of this out! :slight_smile:

I don’t know what’s available in Scotland, but in the US we have support groups for adult children of alcoholics and drug abusers. You are not alone. What you are describing is sadly all too common. Finding a group of people who understands what you’re going through might be very therapeutic.

First of all, stop drinking around your family, who knows what else will come out.

Second, it doesn’t sound like you broke up the family. It sounds like you saved it by making your mom realize that without familial support, she and Mark just couldn’t mask the underlying anger and resentment in their bad relationship. Your moving out was the catalyst that made your mom realize she needs to change.

Third, now that Mark’s gone, you should talk to your grandparents on your mom’s behalf. They don’t speak to her because of Mark but he’s gone, so they should learn to welcome her back into their lives.