I am the only one happy in my family. I feel guilty.
I'm sick of my family! I feel like the only one to be fine. I work, I have two daughters, a good relationship with my friend and I take life on the good side. By cons my two sisters are depressed and my mother harasses me. I get paid for being happy and I eat life. How can I get out of this grip that bothers me and prevents me from sleeping? Mary, 51
Psychiatrist and psychotherapist
If this situation disturbs you, it is because one way or another, you let him have a grip on you. The question is: why and for what purposes?
A track seems interesting to explore, that of guilt, the guilt to go well in a family context where everyone is not well. There may be the fear of not being more or more part of the family seraglio by going too well, the loyalty contract linking you to your family may be expressed thus: we have its place if we go wrong. Otherwise, we derogate, betray and run the risk of being excluded.
You say it yourself: I get paid. And this certainly by a subtle and unconscious guilt of your entourage in which you seem to walk at full speed! You let yourself be victimized. It may be for you the price to be paid to deserve or have the right to be happy when no one else is doing well in the family.
I imagine you're trying to do everything you can to make them better. You make it your workhorse, your responsibility while it's theirs. If so, you give them an opportunity to "hold" yourself psychically. Very often, in such a situation, the "unfortunate" people that one tries to save manage to systematically defeat all efforts made for them. And so you redouble your energy by feeling more and more helpless and frustrated, inadequate, indebted and guilty of your own happiness! You certainly suffer from it, and your family too, so much that it takes you emotionally to the point of not being available for it.
Now you have to choose. The idea is not to break ties with your family of origin (this would only increase your guilt and resentment). It is rather a question of working to perceive them, with real compassion, in their inability to accept the happiness of others and the genuinely felt suffering that results from it.
It is also necessary to stop trying at all costs to make them happy. It does not belong to you! This is not selfishness or disinterest on your part.It is simply lucidity to see the toxic psychic forces that are at stake in this family configuration. It is the courage to be able to say no to the neurosis, thus stopping its infernal cycle. Finally, and above all else, each of them refers to their responsibility for their own existence. It's hard to do because it's been 51 years. But are there other issues?