Family Guilt

LittleBigFoot

MyPTSD Pro
I know not getting any kind of empathy from family is extremely common and I deal with it from some/most family members. But for as much as it sucks I prefer it to the opposite. Does anyone else have someone who maybe knew or participated in abusive behaviors and now overcompensate out of sheer guilt? I can’t stand it. But it’s a thing and I don’t know what to do about it. It’s extremely uncomfortable and makes *me* feel guilty for making them feel guilty somehow and it’s gotten into a somewhat codependent and weird cycle. And I feel so much guilt, shame, uncertainty, and confusion surrounding the relationship. It’s not so cut and dry like others are and I hate that.
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
That sounds confusing and exhausting for you. It also sounds like the family member is still maybe focues on their needs in a way? Like they want you to make them feel better?
 

LittleBigFoot

MyPTSD Pro
That sounds confusing and exhausting for you. It also sounds like the family member is still maybe focues on their needs in a way? Like they want you to make them feel better?

They very much so do and I don’t know how to compute that. They are very hot and cold. One minute it’s “you are just feeling sorry for yourself it’s been how many years” and the next it’s “here you can have this money for xyz I know I screwed up I know I made your childhood bad so here’s all this compensation and I’m sorry’s”.

I don’t know how to work with it while trying to get through therapy where everything is coming up as it is.
 

Sideways

Moderator
But it’s a thing and I don’t know what to do about it.
If you examine the sorts of situations and conversations where this becomes a problem, or the point in conversations where it becomes a problem, that will give you an opportunity to shape some new boundaries into the dynamic to limit it occurring.

What does that look like?

Most likely, it will be putting more distance between the 2 of you. People who don't have the opportunity to get too close, have much less opportunity to hurt us emotionally, especially on a regular basis.

Once the dynamic of the relationship is healthier, you can consider letting them become closer again.
 
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Applecore

New Here
I can’t stand it.

This is the key phrase for me here, and I get it. Have you told them you can't stand it, perhaps telling them that it reinforces the trauma? Alternatively, have you tried working on ways to tolerate it - perhaps acknowledging that it is an expression of remorse and some level forgiveness and acceptance of their remorse might be your responsibility now? Have you considered going for a family therapy session with the person, in order to talk it through in that special place rather than in the kitchen or in the car?
 
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