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Danny~desu
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needing some advice
« on: January 05, 2011, 06:09:15 pm »
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Hey all,
I needed to rant/ ask for advice about something.

In November last year my Aunt decided to throw herself in front of a train. This is still a rather raw matter to talk about within the family. Me and my sister aren't very close but recently her behaviour has gotten worse and worse and tonight it's gotten real bad!
she's come home rather drunk (being carried by her two friends) in an emotional state. I can understand this at some level as i done it at times over the last month to 'deal with things'. She also split from her long term boyfriend before the death which I feel she still hasn't got her head around yet. She says she cant be at home as everything reminds her of him and my aunt but then has a go at us for not being there for her!
it has also come to my attention that her ex. told her over Christmas that everything that has gone wrong in her life, including my aunt killing herself, is her fault because she broke up with him. She doesnt know i know this, nore does he, but i feel this is having an effect on her as well.

i just dont know what to do right now 
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Re:needing some advice
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2011, 12:41:35 am »
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I didn't know that about your Aunt Danny, I am very sorry to hear that..

Not sure what to say in regards to your sister apart from let her know you are always there for her

Keep us posted on what happens!

Take care pm me if you need to!
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Re:needing some advice
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2011, 11:06:33 am »
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I'm very sorry to hear about your aunt Dan.

It's understandable that your sister's emotional state (and your own) would be very fragile around this time... and from her POV this recent tragedy coming on top of the break-up with her boyfriend would exacerbate matters.

I don't know what your sis's relationship with her BF was like, or if you got on with the guy (?) ... But in any case, what he said was inexcusably cruel and your sister could well be carrying incredible feelings of guilt as a result (on top of normal grief over the death and the end of her relationship).

You said you're not close with your sister, and that she's unaware that you know what was said... but if there's any way to do so, try to reassure her that she's NOT to blame for your aunt's actions.

If you know any of her friends well, you could see if they have a better idea of where your sister's head is at... or maybe one of them could gently suggest some kind of counseling IF you feel your sister's drinking/grief/depression is getting out of control.

Also, if she can't be at home, yet paradoxically blames you for "not being there for her" you could perhaps suggest doing some light-hearted activities together that don't include going to pubs and clubs.  Ex:  movies... coffee shops/dinner... a spot of retail therapy or picnicking/hiking when the weather gets a bit warmer.

I'm not excusing the ex-boyfriend, or your sister's moods (taking things out on you for ex) but unfortunately, people can say terrible things in the heat of the moment which can never be "unsaid".  There's not likely to be any "quick fix" for such an emotionally fraught situation.

Be sure to take time out for yourself too... and try (easier said than done) not to take everything your sister says to heart.  She probably needs more time to get over this awful time in your lives, BUT if things don't improve in a couple of months counseling may be the way to go.

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Re:needing some advice
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2011, 02:27:51 pm »
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Hey Danny,

First of all, I am unaware of a lot of things that come to play in the situation you're facing, but since you're directly asking for advice, here are my thoughts:

From your initial post I get the impression you both feel responsible (to a certain extent) for trying to help your sister as well as anxious that she might, in the end, try to harm herself and develop suicidal tendencies.

These are two slightly but importantly separate issues in my mind. As for your feeling of responsibility, it might be good to ask yourself what options you have to help your sister (and thus fulfill the obligation you're expressing):

I would agree that common activities outside of your house and usual environment might be good (although they might take quite some persuasive skills on your part, as it doesn't seem that your sister is in the mood for distraction at this time).

On the other hand, you also have the option to ask for professional help. Depending on what your sister's situation is, work- or school-wise, there might be someone available to talk to who has a more "professional relationship" with her. For instance, I work at Columbia University in New York, and every student and staff member regularly gets an email reminder that in case you get the feeling that people you know lose their regular routine you're asked to contact someone from the university's social work department.

If your sister's school/workplace do not offer such a service (which is quite likely for smaller institutions), you might be able to find professional support via the internet. Naturally, this is based on the most drastic assumption that you might feel your sister could become suicidal! If that is not the case, simply ignore this part!

Now, the second issue I raised is your feeling anxious. While this has directly to do with your sisters behavior, it is still your feeling, and while this feeling would probably go away if your sister got better, another approach is to look at how much responsibility and control you actually have in the current situation.

My other piece of advice is thus to think carefully about what possible options you have to help your sister (see above), but then, after following these options, come to the insight that, if there is nothing else to be done, your sister eventually is responsible for herself. That is not necessarily a happy and helpful thought to begin with (as it doesn't alleviate your anxiety), but it might help in decoupling your feeling bad whenever something bad happens to your sister (like when she comes home drunk again, as you really can't do anything to actually prevent that if she wishes to get drunk!).

Now, I do hope for the very best for both you and your sister, and I wish you, in line with what alcoholics anonymous usually pray for, the serenity to accept the things you cannot change; courage to change the things you can; and wisdom to know the difference! Eventually, you and your sister are not responsible for the death of your aunt, and while it hurts, it should not prompt for feelings of guilt or despair!

Take care,
/jochen
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Re:needing some advice
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2011, 09:01:00 am »
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Hey Dan

I'm so sorry you've got to go through all this, I can only imagine what it'd feel like but even then I wouldn't be able to feel your pains.

As some have already said, maybe you and your sister should hang around together more often. Maybe you should ask her to stay over for a few days or stay over at her place for a few days, so you two can spend time together.

I can understand you're having a bad time as well, I mean... you're going through this process as well as your sister. But maybe it would help you to deal with it if you help your sister deal with it. Maybe it doesn't make sense, but if you help your sister get through all of this, assure her it's not her fault and the like, maybe you'll get a little distraction and can get on with your life as well.

I'm sorry Dan, I've got no idea what to say and I don't know what you could do, I'm just saying what I think and that may not be possible for you, but I really don't know what else to say.

I hope you're feeling better soon. You can always talk if you need to.
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Re:needing some advice
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2011, 10:05:17 am »
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thank you all so much for the advice you've given me!
I have had a small chat to her and she seems to be dealing with it a bit better. she said it just all got to her on that day, which I totally understand!
There are days where you have bigger distractions (in my case filming this film for uni) but other slower days you do start to think about things. it does put it all in perspective, and maybe I haven't taken enough time out to be with my family to help them out as well as help myself out.
I guess we all are dealing with this in our own way right now, but I cant help but think that I need to be there all the time - I can sometimes be to considerate maybe? either way seeing my sister in that state I felt I had failed her... 
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Re:needing some advice
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 11:13:32 am »
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Danny, you are not to blame for your sister breaking down. In your original post you said you have been drinking to calm down. Did she fail you then? No of course not. You sister just had a rough night, everything just got too heavy on her and she broke down.

And as for you being considerate.... I think you should help your family, but they should help you as well... And sometimes you just need to be on your own to deal with it. It's what you like best and how ever you feel at that moment. Of course, you've got to do this with your family, but if you want some time alone, nobody will judge you for it.
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Re:needing some advice
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2011, 02:23:12 am »
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Quote from: Danny~desu on January 09, 2011, 10:05:17 am   

thank you all so much for the advice you've given me!
I have had a small chat to her and she seems to be dealing with it a bit better. she said it just all got to her on that day, which I totally understand!
There are days where you have bigger distractions (in my case filming this film for uni) but other slower days you do start to think about things. it does put it all in perspective, and maybe I haven't taken enough time out to be with my family to help them out as well as help myself out.
I guess we all are dealing with this in our own way right now, but I cant help but think that I need to be there all the time - I can sometimes be to considerate maybe? either way seeing my sister in that state I felt I had failed her... 
Im glad you chatted with her Dan. Everything always seems better on a new day I find. I agree with what Pam said above. Take care
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