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Holidays preparing for the worst. Bad anxiety

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Here's the story. Every year, my family gets together over the holidays and I have so much fun. It's a relief to feel that love and be out of the city. I'm very close to my cousins I love them so much.

Last year, my sister got married and pushed me aside as well as others. We were extremely close. I felt like my brother in law took my place. My parents love him so much.
Well, last night, I found out they had a trip planned and no one told me. A younger cousin I really love asked me if I was going then went "I know it's far away and you have [fill in blank]...". I had no idea. I had my feelings bottled up and I snapped. My father sometimes makes things up about me or tells me what to say to people like he's ashamed. I went off on how he doesn't belong here and pretty much everything. Said I wasn't going with him because he's not my family.

My dad had a terrible temper when I was a kid and now I'm having anxiety and flashbacks expecting it to happen again. I'm remembering all the times they used my fears against me and a lot more because they didn't understand. They lose it very easily. What should I do about my brother in law? Especially since I've tried explaining myself but it never gets through.
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replied November 19th, 2010
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anyone? bro in law is coming over soon. I tend to avoid him. Tried to talk to dad but he just said "that's too bad" and left.
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replied November 20th, 2010
Sweetie, listen to me... you have NO right to feel ashamed of ANYTHING you've been through, of any issue you are dealing with, or of any illness you might be living with. There are always steps you can take to improve a situation, and even if that situation doesn't improve you can improve the way you feel about it and yourself.

I don't know the story with your brother in law, so I'm not sure if your resentment of him is valid, or if you're projecting it on to him while you're actually angry with your sister for the change in your relationship with her. What you are doing is acting out in a passive/aggressive way, and the cure for it is to learn to be assertive. That means instead of bottling things up you address them right away, calmly and rationally. If you were addressing the things that you've bottled up right away you would never have episodes where you blow up over anything, because that internal pressure wouldn't be there any longer. That is a HUGE step in being healthier emotionally.

I think it would be tremendously helpful for you to start journaling if you haven't already. Write down your true feelings on your sister and your relationship with her, your feelings on your brother in law, your feelings about your dad and mom, your friends, and other family members, your doctors and the experiences you've been through. Then after a few days go back and reread them. Do this every time you make an entry. You'll probably start to see patterns in your behavior, and once you see them you can change them! You'll know to sit down with your sister and communicate with her how you're feeling hurt that she's allowed your relationship to change the way it has, that you miss her, and want her to know it. You can start to look at your brother in law as a decent guy who loves your siser and treats her right (if this is the case). You can sit down with your father and REALLY say some powerful things without being confrontational and super angry. That is how you'll get a better response out of him, instead of "too bad" as he walks away from you.

I think communication is the cornerstone of a good family relationship. Without it a family falls apart! When you have things and feelings that need to be addressed, think about them before you speak of them. Get them organized in your head. Then (as and example) you sit down with Dad...

If you approach that conversation as an angry, hurt little girl you are taking the power away from the powerful assertive grown WOMAN that you are! If you start by saying "Look dad, the way you treat me is messed up and it ticks me off. Its like you dont even listen, or care. How dare you ask me to lie about what I'm going through, and how dare you be ashamed of my problems! They are MY problems, not yours! You aren't the one living with them, so you have NO clue what I'm dealing with! If you could see me as your daughter, as someone you love UNCONDITIONALLY, as a SURVIVOR then maybe you'd find a little pride in who I am instead of being so afraid of what people will think that you'd rather lie about what is going on. Well whatever dad, if that's how you feel then I'm through with this conversation..." then you're not going to get the response or communication that want... no matter how true and valid some of that anger is.

If you approach that conversation as the powerful young lady that you are, with thoughts that are organized and you say things like "Dad, i'm not sure if you realize how badly it hurts me when you ask me to lie about what's going on with me. You act like you're ashamed of me, and that's a horrible way for me to feel. I didn't do these things to myself. I had no control over the bad things that happened to me... but I DO have control over how I'm dealing with them. Maybe I haven't always dealt with them in the best or healthiest way, I am doing my best to start doing that from now on. I really want your support. I know that I can be better. I know that I have the power to rise above the things that have happened, and even if I have a weak moment, I know God has the power to carry me through it, too. I want a better relationship with you. I want you to care when I have something to say. I want you to be proud of the way I'm dealing with things now, and to not ask me to lie about them. I am not ashamed, I have no reason to be. I can and will get through this, and I can get healthier Dad... I may always have to deal with certain things, but so do plenty of other people. People have diabetes and cancer and any number of conditions and mine is no different. If I take care of myself, if I learn how to over come the things that are in my control, and medicate the things that need to be medicated then I'm doing the right things... I'm doing what I have to do to get better. I can and will do this completely on my own if I have to, but I'd much rather do it with you by my side... giving me love and support... I don't think that's too much to ask. We have a wonderful family, but how wonderful can we really be if we can't communicate? if I can't come to you when I need to? I'm sorry if I've done things and made bad choices that have disappointed you, but what I'm doing now is the opposite of all that. I'm giving this to God, and He's going to carry me through when I can't walk it. He's going to listen to me when I need Him to, and He's going to always love me. He's not ashamed that He made me. He loves me without question, without condition... I don't think it's strange that I want the same thing from you, too..."

I think that conversation would get a MUCH better response than the first one!! Girl, you are STRONG, and you've been through things NO person deserves to go through. But sweetheart, those of us who seem to go through trial after trial are the ones that God made stronger than steel for a reason! We become the mighty Phoenix and we rise out of the ashes that our abuses have reduced us to so that we can SHARE what we've learned and help other people realize they are like us too. They are STRONG and worthy and probably worth SO much more than they believe. God designed people like you and me and a million others out there to be sheer power, and sometimes it takes going through a nightmare in order to find that power inside ourselves. You're here honey... you're at that place. You're power is right there inside you, patiently waiting for you to grab on to it and to never let it go again. These experiences and the disorders that they've left behind DO NOT define you!! YOU define them!! You have the power and responsibility to yourself to learn as much about you as possible, to start making choices that YOU want to make, to take your health care into YOUR hands. Get rid of the doctors you dont like, get rid of the therapists that you dont gel with, and go get ones that YOU choose and dont settle for ANYTHING less than what you want and need! Clear out the people in your life that make you feel bad, and make the choice to start treating yourself the way you'd treat the best friend God could ever design for you... because that's what you are.

God created you with His perfect hands, and that means He created you perfect in His eyes. You are HIS child, no matter what happens with your biological family. No one can take you from Him, and He will never foresake you. The faster you get going on this journey the quicker you're going to find out exactly who you are. From that day on you will be empowered with something SO liberating that you won't be able to ever question whether someone else can break you down again. Go out there and become who God created you to be. With or without them. Focus that love you have on YOU.

If you want to, I can send you my cell # in a PM. We can text each other through our family holidays. I mean it... I am always available for you. You have a lot of questions, a lot of insecurities, a lot of worries... but I know a survivor when I see one. And girl, I am ALREADY proud to make your acquaintence! I think you're amazing, and I think you're going to do amazing things once you find the truth... that you're not half as messed up as you think you are. That's not me minimizing your experiences, that's me recognizing fierce strength and will to survive as soon as I see it. Something tells me you rock!! lol

Let me know if you want my #, am MORE than happy to oblige!!
Hang in there, keep that head HIGH. That's where it belongs!
*hugs*
SaraPie
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replied November 20th, 2010
yeah I know that was lengthy... but I felt it was SO important that I had to retype it FIVE times cause the system booted me FIVE times!!! been trying to get it to you for 2 hours now! SO glad it went through!
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replied November 20th, 2010
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You retyped that five times? Wow, that means a lot. Thank you so much for all you've done and said to me. That was powerful it actually made me cry a bit lol. I like the keeping a journal idea I really want to try that.
I have notebooks and journals everywhere from studies so I could start that right away.
I don't know my brother in law very much. I love his little sister she's amazing but he pushed her away too. We're in the same boat so I talk to her when I can. I've tried talking to my sis through Facebook but he began reading them and now they share an account so it's the two of them reading the messages.

I love what you said about God. I'm reading a book called "12 Steps with Jesus" and chapter 7 says to make Jesus your sponsor. It has great ideas and I've been doing that which helps a lot.

I do know I'm a survivor and God does not create people for no reason. I don't blame Him at all. It's just hard to find the words at times.
You'd make a great counselor for real! My friend's sponsor always said "there are no mistakes in God's plans". I believe it Smile
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