This is almost a novel, but if you could advise...thanks


Okay, so…

My husband and I recently moved back to the area where I grew up, the place where my parents and some of my siblings still live. I have not lived near family in ten years (I’m almost 26, left home for college early). I have good memories of childhood, am close to most of my siblings and over the years have had a good phone relationship with my parents–seeing them a couple times a year, sometimes more, but talking to them many times a week.

The plan was to move here for a few reasons. One, we wanted to raise our family near loving aunts, uncles, etc (siblings and my parents). Two, we didn’t want the east coast/big city pace for our future family. Three, I missed my family. Four, various other misc reasons such as cost of living, midwestern values, church on every streetcorner, etc.

I’ve generally had a good relationship with my parents.
There have been times in my life where we’ve butted heads, over nearly every major decision I’ve made with my education or career–but in the end, since I was financially responsible for myself and sure in what I wanted for my life…I took their opinion, weighed it carefully and acted according to what I thought was in my best interest. They often had a hard time accepting decisions that didn’t follow with their opinion (such as me moving across the country, the career path I chose, following certain aspects of my faith, etc). However, amongst the disagreements were always good times that were had.

Anyway, we were very excited to learn of the pregnancy as soon as we arrived here, after moving. We felt like it was such perfect timing and a blessing from God that He would gift us with a baby just as we made such a major life-changing decision that happened to be centered around raising a family.

Things, however, have definitely been strange since I’ve returned. I think some of it has to do with the lack of in-person time I’ve spent with my parents over the last decade. Talking to them several times a week is not the same as seeing them very often and interacting that way. Some of what I noticed on the phone, such as my mother’s recent…combative behavior, for lack of a better phrase, I dismissed. Until I began seeing it.

My dad insisted she go to the doctor a few months ago because he felt like he was noticing some major behavioral changes in her. He told me privately he thought it might be the onset of early Alzheimers. (She is in her late fifties, so this would be unusual.) Her doctor agreed that she did have some indicators and wanted to meet with her further and explore other possibilities. My mother was highly insulted by even the suggestion that something could be wrong with her of this nature. (Her grandmother and grandmother’s siblings had Alzheimers’. Her parents each died early from cancer, so either of them developing it never came to be an issue.) She stopped going to that doctor at all. She did go see her OB and asked if some of her symptoms are just a very difficult menopause, which her OB agreed with–but my mother did not hand her all of the information about what’s been going on.

Anyway, my dad stopped forcing the issue because it caused so much trouble between them and now they act like there is nothing wrong with her. She does have short-term memory issues; you can tell her one thing and five minutes later she brings up the same conversational topic and acts angry when you tell her we just spoke about it. She’s extremely moody and defensive and extraordinarily insensitive about some of what comes out of her mouth. She did not used to be like this and this isn’t the mother I remember from my childhood at all.



She had a horrible fight with my brother, who is a marine serving in Iraq, on the phone, in which she hung up on him and he has not since called her back. They haven’t spoken in a few months. He and I still communicate and we’ve talked a great deal about this, but I don’t like to focus on it with him because I want him to be at peace over there and not dwell or worry about what is going on at home. I also notice signs in her of being ultra possessive of her granddaughter, my brother’s daughter, and has spoken inappropriately about my brother in front of the baby. She also went to a psychologist and was told, based on her version of events, that she is Ella’s “pscyhological mom.” So this has empowered her to develop an extremely close relationship with Ella that I worry undermines Ella’s parental relationships. Ella’s real mother is working like a maniac while my brother is gone, so Ella spends a great deal of time with her grandmother (my mother).

My mother has randomly decided that my youngest sister needs to be yanked out of college. She is a freshman. So she is being pulled out of school at semester and will be returning to my parents’ home and working until she has enough money to pay for her own college. (I could go into my mother’s irrational reasoning behind this decision, but it would take up unnecessary time. She is remarkably persuasive and manipulative, despite her lack of logic, and has convinced my dad that my youngest sister is merely a leech on them and doesn’t deserve college tuition paid for. Granted, I paid for my own college but that was not the deal agreed upon between my sister and my parents so this is very devastating for her. She’s been threatening suicide in moments of extreme panic. I don’t think she’s serious, I just think she’s heartbroken. This doesn’t seem to phase my mother.)

As for me. A week before Thanksgiving, I had extreme pain that my perinatologist said I needed to go to the ER for to treat. He suspected it was something in particular but wanted the lab to confirm. He stressed it was important I get there ASAP because the condition could cause pre-term labor if untreated. I had only an hour to get there before it closed. I did not have transportation available. My husband was over an hour away for work, my sisters were at various appointments or work and my dad was out of town. Friends were at work. I called my mom. She yelled at me that I needed to plan better (who plans emergencies?) and that she had cornbread in the oven and Ella (my neice) was over, having a snack. Then she hung up on me. She has not spoken to me since then and refuses to do so.

Another sister has always been one to really need parental approval so she has “sided” with my mom in her decision. My mom uses her as a confidant so this sister would call me with random updates about how Mom said this, Mom said that, Mom says you owe her an apology, Mom says she doesn’t care if she ever speaks to you again but that she WILL have access to your baby, etc. Finally I was like, okay this is not helpful, please don’t repeat things to me anymore.

We were then uninvited for Thanksgiving by my mom through my sister. However, my dad called and got rather aggressive verbally with me, speaking to me as if I’m ten and telling me I need to apologize for “inconveniencing” my mother by asking her to “drop everything” and take me ten minutes up the street to the ER. He said I needed to do this ASAP and that I “better” be at the dinner table for Thanksgiving “or else.” I set a firm boundary that I would not be speaking to him further about this subject and that I expected a certain level of respect from my parent. One, I won’t be commanded or threatened. Two, I have a right to my feelings and when Mom is ready to discuss what happened, I’ll be willing to talk to her about it–and not anyone else until then, or after. Surprisingly, he backed down and apologized very profusely.

So, we spent Thanksgiving with one of my sisters who is also banished from my mother’s approval for other reasons.

Since then, I haven’t heard from the sister that sided with my mother, nor my dad, other then over email. My mother has not spoken to me since the phone call episode.

My sister emailed me to say that Mom and my other sister have cancelled my baby shower. They sent out invitations and just mailed cancellations apparently to all of my extended family and even my friends. I got emails and phone calls asking if the baby was okay. I just replied that she’s fine and not to worry. People do not know what to think and I don’t know what to tell them. I know that if I’m honest then I’ll cause further discord and my mother will slip further away from me–but I also know I’m allowing her control by not being upfront about her ridiculous actions.



Perhaps what makes this extremely hurtful is my mother’s affection for my neice’s mother. She affectionately calls her “the fifth daughter.” (My brother and this woman are not married, though still dating.) She watches my neice six days a week so J can have time to herself and work as she wants or needs to. (This goes on because my mother encourages it so as to affirm her relationship to Ella being ultra close.) During J’s pregnancy, Mom took her shopping for maternity clothes, attended her pre-natal appointments, bought out most of the registry for J, threw her a baby shower, set the baptism in motion with new outfits for mommy, daddy and baby, etc. She regularly has J and Ella pose for professional pics together. My parents house is peppered with pictures of J. Recently she threw J a big birthday party with a huge cash gift, and just gave Ella a big birthday party this past week. They spend a lot of time on the phone together and are really close. (J is my age.) Of course, behind J’s back, my mother has not spoken so nicely of her and has indicated she does these things so as to have full “access” to Ella. However, J also plays my mother because she knows she can get whatever she wants out of her. My mother has shown rare interest in the baby, and obviously was unconcerned enough about the baby to even take me to the ER when she was in danger. Much less attend a pre-natal appointment! Most of our talk concerning my baby had to do with her impatiently telling me to quit trying to over-prepare myself to be a parent.

I feel completely lost as to how to handle this whole situation or even understand it. Even with professional training, I cannot view my family objectively or understand what my actions should be. My mother’s venomous behavior is not who I remember and not the person I have loved all these years. My dad’s behavior is equally puzzling but I think it has to do with him being in denial of what is really going on and not wanting to alienate my mother from him, too. And in many ways, I understand because I would not forsake my husband to choose my children either. He did say over email that he knows this isn’t right but that he can’t abandon my mother.

I also feel incredibly stupid for moving here. I didn’t want to stay on the east coast, but there were other places we would have happily considered had I known what this would be like. My wonderful husband is a rock of support and clear-thinking. He sees all of this for exactly what it is and only encourages me to be charitable and not place my own worth on how they are suddenly treating me. It’s difficult as we are coming off of a very tough situation with HIS parents, something we’ve only recently healed from.

It is difficult to not feel so hurt and depressed over what I feel is the utter breakdown of my entire family of origin. Even my mother’s voice is different. Nothing is familiar or the way things used to be. The other aspect that concerns me is alcohol intake. I don’t drink and my husband rarely has more than a glass of wine maybe once a month. However, my youngest sister told me about a year ago that both of my parents were beginning to abuse alcohol. I brushed that off as being silly, thinking she didn’t understand what alcohol abuse really was. I did not realize this was going on until i saw it for myself. It concerns me on a number of levels but mainly because I don’t want my baby around ANY of that or this whole situation.

I try very hard to push the feelings away because I don’t want the baby to feel what I’m feeling. I have started to feel slightly panicky about what will happen when the baby comes, especially amid my mother’s claims that she “WILL” have “access” to my baby regardless of what suits me. I could actually see her making my dad petition for grandparent rights if they felt they weren’t getting to see the baby. There were some legal issues that surfaced with my neice’s mother and my dad didn’t hesitate to bring that up in court. So while that may sound extreme, I know that apparently they’re up to enforcing what they want.

I’m planning on getting some counseling about this after the New Year. Meanwhile, does anyone have any suggestions about coping with this stuff? I feel very disillusioned and disappointed and basically bewildered. Sort of like my whole reality has been utterly turned upside down.


First, I want to say that I am so sorry that you are going through this at such a beautiful, wonderful time in your life.

All I can advise is to be pro-active, Start documenting everything, including her reaction to your phone call about going to the ER(you were pregnant, had an emergency, and mom freaked out about taking you to the ER even though not going could have lead to the baby going early. I don’t think that a judge will look too kindly on a grandma who wants “rights” to her grandchild, but wouldn’t help when said grandchild could have been in danger). If she tries to take you to court, you will have this documentation. Document the doctor’s visit(or the one she was supposed to have)document, document, document. If push comes to shove, the judge will order psychological testing for your mom.

Hopefully, it won’t come to this. Since your dad is in denial, he wouldn’t be any help in getting her admitted to a psychiatric hospital, right? How about calling a lawyer to see what you can do legally to get your mom some help? Can you call her doctor and speak with him? If so, have him talk to the gyn. maybe the 2 of them together could come up with something.


Mom of One has given pretty solid advice. If you can do so, getting legal advice might help, just in case there is a problem. Your mom might have been just making idle noise or she could really be planning to sue you for custody rights. Either way you need to be prepared ahead of time.

I wish that I had better advice. Until I moved to NC, I had a pretty good phone relationship with my mom. Although I knew that she had mental problems I was certain that once I arrived here, that our relationship would be the same. Sadly, it has broken down to the point that we haven’t spoken in several months. Much of this was due to the manner in which she treated my children. So, I understand how a relationship can drastically change when you are in physical contact with the person.

You will be in my prayers. You don’t need this worry during your pregnancy.


Can you move?

Oh I know that sounds drastic and you just moved there to be closer to your family but it sounds like it’s not working out at all and a long distance relationship with short visits a couple times a year sounds like a much better alternative rather than having to deal with all the problems living so close seems to have brought. After you have the baby, it’s just going to get worse.

Maybe your Mom has the beginings of Alzheimer’s… or maybe it’s the alcohol… but despite your love for her (and I’m certain her love for you) it sounds like a very difficult relationship to maintain. She is in the good care of your father so it’s not your responsibility… you have your own family to think about.

I am so sorry you are having to deal with all of this now… being pregnant… especially with your added health concerns is difficult enough without all of the family drama. Really… I can’t get over the “corn bread in the oven.” vs. your trip to the ER - ASAP.

I would seriously consider moving.


[quote=carol marie]Can you move?

Oh I know that sounds drastic and you just moved there to be closer to your family but it sounds like it’s not working out at all and a long distance relationship with short visits a couple times a year sounds like a much better alternative rather than having to deal with all the problems living so close seems to have brought. After you have the baby, it’s just going to get worse.

Maybe your Mom has the beginings of Alzheimer’s… or maybe it’s the alcohol… but despite your love for her (and I’m certain her love for you) it sounds like a very difficult relationship to maintain. She is in the good care of your father so it’s not your responsibility… you have your own family to think about.

I am so sorry you are having to deal with all of this now… being pregnant… especially with your added health concerns is difficult enough without all of the family drama. Really… I can’t get over the “corn bread in the oven.” vs. your trip to the ER - ASAP.

I would seriously consider moving.

I have already consulted a lawyer who specializes in family law and outlined the situation to him. Um, your suggestion was basically his. He knows of my father (he’s a lawyer, too) and I outlined this situation to him. He basically said, “well…your father is a pitbull in court and he is also highly respected. While the law is on your side, the trend in this state has recently been to rule against fit parents despite the law that protects them. Someone with your dad’s reputation amongst the district courts would certainly be taken very seriously and judges would probably rule against you.”

This of course sent me into mild hysterics and I was ready to leave, like, this second. But we can’t. First, my husband is under contract. Second, we just spend thousands of dollars to get here. Third, I’m six months pregnant. Four, we just don’t have the money right this second. Fifth…where would we even go?

Aside from the moving expenses, my medical treatment has been EXTREMELY high cost. The perinatologist is minimally covered on our insurance. We still need to buy a second car (in fact, we have to or I won’t be able to get to my prenatal appts after January). Meanwhile we’re spending thousands on the health care. We haven’t even bought anything for the baby yet.

My husband basically wants to feel out if we can maintain a very distant relationship with them while still living here. He is hoping that my dad won’t turn aggressive immediately. There is also the reverse psychology of pretending we really want them to be involved with the baby which honestly might in turn make them shy away from doing so. Also, my brother is due home from Iraq in March and he will be their obsession.

However, honestly my greatest fear at this point is them starting a legal battle to see the baby and then us having to pay to fight it and ultimately probably losing. Hence the reason I just want to get out of here. My husband wants to give it a year more from this summer, but I feel like that is a very vulnerable time period.

I feel so guilty, like I should have known what this was going to be. My husband has not chastised me once for it, but he does look so tired when he thinks about moving again, this time to a place where we don’t know anyone and don’t have any support. Here, at least we have a few friends.

One more thing the lawyer said was to be certain we never allowed them unsupervised access to the baby, or else we’d be demonstrating a trust there that we don’t feel.

My instinct is to go go go, but I have to be careful it just isn’t my hormonal panic.

Oh, and the lawyer also said that while a court can’t order us not to move, a judge CAN order visitation even after we’ve moved!!! That absolutely shocked me. However I think it was in the context of there is a judgement and THEN the family moves. So, if we could just move and avoid all of this, then that would be perfect.

But, again, my husband loves the area, we love our friends and we dont want to make a hasty decision and leave when they might never file. We are praying nightly against them doing so.


I’m not sure what to suggest regarding the other elements, as it is impossible to help people (no matter how much they may need it) who refuse help. It may well be a mental illness and/or a drinking problem affecting your mother and everyone around her–however, you cannot help her directly (pray for her, though). Just maintain your boundaries and don’t let your desire for a happy relationship with your family of origin allow you to subject yourself to repeated disappointment (that is, don’t try to please–do the correct things like issue invitations to the baptism of your baby, but don’t worry about whether they show or not).

My MIL is the one who is certifiable (though she refuses help)–FIL is deceased, and he was the only restraining factor in my husband’s relationship with his parents. We haven’t had direct contact with her since shortly after FIL died, though we did invite her when our oldest made his First Communion and the twins were baptized (same weekend), and will invite her when our middle son makes his First Communion this coming May. She did not attend oldest son’s First Communion, the twins’ baptism, nor the party we held, nor do I expect her to show up for middle son’s First Communion. So I am somewhat familiar with the painful family relations (PM me if you want to talk further on the subject).


Also, to put the alcohol abuse in context: It’s basically evening cocktails that get out of hand. She nor my dad hit the bottle during the day.

But, I’ve heard from a recovering alcoholic that alcohol abuse can create mean or aggressive behavior when one is not even inebriated…not sure how that works, must be a chemical thing.


Wow…what a homecoming!! I can feel the utter frustration you describe at finding yourself in the middle of all this disfunction.

Clearly there is something amiss with your mother’s behaviour. Unfortunately she must also have a very powerful personality, because the inmates are running the asylum and everyone is falling into line and asking ‘how high’ when ever she says ‘jump.’ The first logical step needs to be to have her evaluated by a health professional especially given her erratic behaviour and the history of Alzheimer’s in your family. I would suggest the only way this will happen is if you can get out for a conversation with your father and lay out logically and unemotionally the nature of your concerns. Is there a family friend/physician who could assist you with this delicate discussion?

If he refuses to take this on, you may be in for quite a challenge. I would assess the situation honestly and decide along with your husband what is acceptable/tolerable in your interactions with them and how you plan to deal with unacceptable conduct. Being firm and non-emotional is a must. However, there may come a point at which you determine this situation is more toxic than clannish, and the decision to remove yourself and your family-to-be may present itself.

Though not quite to this extent, I have dealt with moving to be close to family, and then, after living in the soup, decided it was healthier to have some distance, and moving away again. Nothing you have done is irreversible. I’m sorry for the the disappointment you must be feeling, but hope that senitmentality doesn’t lead you to close your eyes to the manipulation and vindictive behaviour your mother is displaying. That kind of environment can be toxic for you, your marriage, and the family life you want to build for your own children.


I write all of this from a been there done that viewpoint, if it sounds accusatory, it is not personal

stay where you are for the time being until your life reaches a stage where you can move away.
distance yourself from your family, as if you were still a thousand miles away. let your dad and sisters know you will not participate in any conversations including e-mail that tear your down-or that tear your mother down.

urge your dad, when you can have a rational conversation with him, to insist your mom receive a medical evaluation, and share the changes you have noticed in her. If it doesn’t happen, not your fault, but it is a shame.

from what you say she may be experiencing new problems, but her manipulative behavior has been a pattern all her life, her husband and rest of the family have enabled it, and it will not change. for the good of your own husband and child, stay out of the mix.

do not expect from your family what you already know you will not get, work on developing your own network of friends–neighbors, couples in your lamaze class, parish etc.

part of the problem is that you had certain expectations in moving back which simply were not born out in reality, because they were at least in part wishful thinking. deep down you know those family dynamics were already in operation, which might have been part of the reason you moved away in the first place.

pray every day a prayer of forgiveness for every member of your family, and pray for their needs every day. If you allow yourself to stew over these situations, especially if you allow yourself to become jealous over the relationships of niece, sister etc. to your parents, you will be setting yourself up for a bitter resentment that will do mental and physical damage all your life. let it go.

practice the virtue of detachment, where you can genuinely love your family by an act of will, wishing them well, while divorcing yourself emotionally from their antics. This is a lot easier to do when you are a thousand miles away, but can be done in the same town, if every time you interact you use the same civility and even unemotional tone you would with a difficult boss or coworkers you can’t avoid.

you and your husband need legal advice right now in setting up wills and naming legal guardian for your child.


Thank you, puzzleannie and no, I don’t think that was accusatory at all.

Much of what you said resonates. I have many old, old friends who knew me a decade ago, long before I moved away for college so early in my life. They all knew my parents back then. When hearing about this, my dearest friend especially was like, hmm are you having high school flashbacks yet? Her reaction was surprising to me because I had considered the last ten years to be a fairly good relationship and I had not spent much time thinking about high school nor my mother’s manipulative ways before I left. Or the way my dad eventually gets talked into whatever her line of thinking is. After talking to my friend, however, I thought…oh, this is merely insta-replay and I didn’t even realize. (However, it truly is much worse than I ever remember and given some of the possible medical issues, I think that has exacerbated some bad behavioral habits, such as the manipulation and control.)

There have been times in the past where she’s pouted and not spoken to me when I made a life decision she didn’t agree with. So controlling! I generally didn’t have enough time to give this much credence and one way or another we always spoke again and perhaps my cavalier attitude about her “opinions” was enough at the time for her to realize I didn’t take her very seriously. I do remember having a conversation once with her and she saying, “Really, you just baffle me.” As if I was the great mystery of her life or something. Later she said, ‘well I just don’t understand some of the things you do and you’ve never needed me the way the other children have’. So perhaps this is payback for all the times I’ve done things myself and my own way–she gets her revenge by not taking me to the ER? Twisted.

When I met my husband, HIS mother was by far one of the most dysfunctional people I’d ever come across (in a non-professional setting ;)). I think spending the last few years dealing with her made me idealize my own mother, or at the very least overlook her behaviors because really our main contact was over the phone and a simple conversation with her was much more soothing than any interaction I could possibly have with my MIL. As it became apparent that my husband’s family would not be an environment we wanted to continue living anywhere near, along with the waning happiness of being on the east coast, we began thinking…well, maybe MY hometown would be much better.

My husband is a very dear man whose first response to all of this was, “Well, God knew exactly what would happen when He sent us here and there has to be a lesson in all of this He wanted you to learn very badly.” Hmmm, stay far, far away from extended family no matter how nice they are on the phone!??!?? :wink: Don’t use ten years of physical distance to determine how successful a relationship can be in person??? :slight_smile:

Thank you for your advice!


Thank you for the asylum analogy! :slight_smile: That at least sent me to bed laughing.

Yes my mother does have one of those personalities where people innately want to please her. (Or deal with the wrath of her displeasure, as my husband would say now.) I suffered this for awhile as a child to a lesser extent but then it got boring to do things merely for her and I somehow escaped continuing. Apparently the pattern is alive and well in many of my sisters, however.

Thank you for the reminder to put my family first and not subject ourselves to this sort of bizarre game. My husband’s family is actually much worse and we have not seen them for two years. I am hoping this does not go that route, but I feel like I learned good and well that being bullied is not a way I want to live–and I won’t accept that for myself or my family.


I read a biographical article on Judith Krantz of all people, whose books I have never read, but was a speaker at a writers conference I attended. the thesis was that all writers, no matter what their topic or genre, are actually writing about their own families. She went on to give examples of how although she tried to write about romantic people with lives entirely different from her own, she ended up recording the interplay of relationships within her own family.

the psychologist cited in the article pointed out that we do “instant replay” of childhood conflicts with our siblings and parents all the time, especially when we get together at holidays, for births and weddings and other stressful times, the times that tell us “for better or worse you are part of this family, so get over it”. She gave examples of how we fall into the trap of behaving like “the baby of the family,” “the smart one,” “the leader”, “the clown,” “the disruptive one,” “the rebel” etc. everytime we get together.

Your account also sounds like there is some instant replay of relationships with siblings going on as well. Do not discount the power of the dynamic between you and your dad, and be conscious throughout your life of times you are making decisions based on what he would have advised (or against his advice) rather than on rational grounds.


As usual, annie gives absolutely wonderful advice, and can articulate it much better than I can.

I have a parallel situation with my brother. He has lived out of state for over 20 years. Recently, he and his wife have started a family. My nephew is 14 months old. They have had my mother down for extended periods so she can get to know her grandson. He has had a decent “phone relationship” with her, and on the rare occasions of his visits, they have gotten along. He has chastised the rest of us for our complaints. Now, with his more “up close and personal” type relationship, he sees much more clearly the types of problems mother has. Being a psychologist, he has had sort of an intervention with her. He told her that she is no longer welcome in his home until she seeks psychiatric help. They are now estranged.
Abby, my heart goes out to you. I know you had such high hopes about raising your family near your parents. However, I do believe charitable detachment is what is called for. May I recommend a book that has helped me immensely? It’s entitled “Children of the Self Absorbed” by Nina W. Brown, Ed.D., L.P.C. I made all of my siblings read it, and I use it as a “primer” before having to deal with mother.
BTW, although I believe your mother’s manipulative behaviors have been long standing, one of the chief characteristics of Alzheimer’s is early onset. It is quite possible she is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. STM problems can cause someone to forget to take their needed medications, become combative, etc. (as I’m sure you know). Since she’s having a “bad menopause”, perhaps she’s forgetting to take her meds?? She definitely needs to have a good medical/psychological work up–perhaps with a doctor who specializes in Gerontology.
All that being said, your mom and dad are responsible for getting the right care. You can recommend and or suggest, but they need to do it. Your family and your health comes first.
You and yours are in my prayers.



It will take a long time to become emotionally detached from your parents, and even longer for the pain to heal.

Steer clear of them, document everything, and move away as soon as you can. Your mother will only get worse as she senses that you aren’t going to march to the beat of her drum. I want to reiterate the need for guardians and a proper will. Have you started thinking about your baby’s baptism yet?

I’m sorry that you are experiencing this, God bless you.


One thing that hasn’t really come up:

Don’t brush off lightly your sister’s threats of suicide. I’ve known too many wonderful people who ended their lives that way to even think of messing around with that, even if it was just a joke or being emotional.


Quick things while I can…

  1. I certainly agree with the posters that have recommended to put your family first. Very good advice.

  2. vluvski also gives good advice to not lightly disregard your sister’s mention of suicide. Any thoughts in that direction can be serious, and, if she’s expressing them now, she’s probably thought about it for much longer.

  3. About getting to your appointments after January. Even though you may not have the immediate family resources available to you, your true family is much larger. Many parishes have programs like one in my last parish - “Helping Hands”, which pitch in to help out with transportation, shopping, child care, cooking and cleaning when our brothers and sisters are in need. Please, call your parish. You may only have to say that you are pregnant and need rides to doctor’s appointments. They may be able to help or to point you to someone who can.

  4. Pray, and we will pray with you. It sounds as if your family, and your mother especially, need help. I will pray especially that you, and your mother, get all of the help that you need.


Take whatever legal action you need to, but at the end of the day, do not be consumed by fear. Remember that God is in control, and He’s allowing this to happen. He created your baby for a reason, and it wasn’t so that your baby could be harmed in any way by your family.

Seek His will in all things, and He will see you through this. Remember that there is spiritual protection around you when you are doing His will, and although the situation may be difficult for even years to come, do not let the fear override your trust in God.

Pope John Paul II said that there are no coincidences in life (paraphrase), meaning that everything happens for a reason according to God’s plan for our salvation. And so this too is happening to you for a reason.

I know when my kids are sick or I am otherwise worried about them, sometimes I worry myself sick with fear of what could happen. It’s not easy to let go of those fears, but I take a lot of comfort in praying to their guardian angels. Remember, too, that usually our worst fears never see the light of day.

God’s in charge of this!


Oh yes, I am very familiar with the roles we all play in family situations. :slight_smile: I have been aware of that since my school days and we all continue to be treated as we have been defined or typecast. Among a few of my siblings we actually openly talk about that. Most of the time it’s in a joking manner, but one of my brother’s biggest complaints continues to be that my parents can’t see us outside of the childhood box we were all individually placed in.

Gianna, I will find that book and read it. Thanks very much for the recommendation. Thank you also for the story about your brother, I really appreciate knowing I’m not the only person to be blindsighted by family dynamics upon returning to a more in- person relationship!

As for my sister–yes I am very aware it needs to be taken seriously, and it has been.

For those of you who recommended I start documenting–I haven’t done that, so I will start.

Legal concerns are worrisome for us too. We are not sure who to entrust the baby to if something were to happen to us. My best friend is about the only person I would thoroughly trust from any and all perspectives (faith, stability, etc), but she’s not married. Anyone in my husband’s family is out of the question completely and maybe if one or two of my siblings were older and more stable, they might be possibilities. But at this point they are not.

My husband woke up this morning and read replies to this thread and was like, I don’t think I realized how serious you are about wanting to move. So I said, well I told you I would give it a year if we have to but I don’t see us staying here for sure. So now he is feeling frustrated with the musical chairs we might have to play with discerning a good location and where to go, concerning cost of living, job availability for him, etc. His biggest problem is not being sure we “have” to move. I’ve told him I’m not “sure” we have to move either, but I don’t really want to stick around and find out the other way.

We COULD technically move this summer, but it would be a big production again and we’d have a three month old to manage meanwhile. And I really worry about going to some random place without any friends or family and attempting to do well without any support system whatsoever.

Ahhh. I guess we just have to pray a lot and figure out what God wants us to do. If we do decide to give it a year from this summer, I hope and pray that there isn’t any major battles with my parents concerning the baby.

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