Family Matters
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Feeling torn

I am really in a pickle and struggle with what to do as far as my family troubles go. My sister and I are ot speaking right now and I am estranged (have been for 3 years now) from my parents. My sister and I are seven years apart, have never been close and have been speaking on and off for years. She is very insecure, has no sense of self, is extremely materialistic, narcissistic and self centered. She is easily manipulated by our mom and cannot stand up for herself or anyone else if they are being wronged. She is not loyal or trustworthy either. My mom changed around the time DS 1 was born. She has hated DH since we have been married (LOVED him before the wedding) and has had no relationship, nor tries to, with her grandchildren. She is a control freak who has no boundaries whatsoever. My dad is the passive enabler in that relationship who hides from conflict. I have tried for years to mend things with all of them but we cannot get together without a fight or argument ensuing. Every time we do try to talk I get backed into a corner thru guilt and manipulation and what does come out of my mouth ends up being more from a place of anger than setting a clear calm boundary. They refuse to talk or communicate about the issues our family has and it becomes the elephant in the room when we get together. I cant for the life of me understand how people can expect to get together under these uncmfortable circumstances. I feel I am at the end of my rope with them but what do I do, write them off?  I am sad because it was never like this growing up but can family dynamics change this much?  

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Re: Feeling torn

  • I'm not sure what an objective take on this would be, but it is possible to take a break temporarily, or decrease contact and increase boundaries, without writing them out of your life forever.
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  • image ReturnOfKuus:
    I'm not sure what an objective take on this would be, but it is possible to take a break temporarily, or decrease contact and increase boundaries, without writing them out of your life forever.

    I have been decreasing contact and increasing boundaries over the 3 year period since our troubles started. It seems like the more i increased my boundaries and tried to get them to talk (instead of shove things under the rug) it made it worse because that is just unheard of in our family (talking about problems). I am at the point where it has come to a head and feel like letting them go until they approach me is the only choice I have left 

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  • if they are as toxic as you say, you can live without them.:(

    Sorry for your troubles. 

    It wasn't like that growing up because I'll bet you glossed a lot of it over. Blame youth for that.:(
  • image TarponMonoxide:
    if they are as toxic as you say, you can live without them.:(

    Sorry for your troubles. 

    It wasn't like that growing up because I'll bet you glossed a lot of it over. Blame youth for that.:(

    I am beginning to realize that a lot of what i experienced growing up isnt normal for a lot of families. While I get that families arent "normal" or perfect per se, i am sure most others work thru problems and communicate. Mine does neither 

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  • I am the "truth teller" in my family. So, I'm the one talking about the elephant. A lot.

    But, even so, I can have a meal from time to time without dissecting every issue we have. Are you engaged in therapy? There are many skills and techniques you can use to tackle all of these relationships. And it's really nice to have someone professionally devoted to you. Hitting that balance it tough, but I really enjoy building some memories with my family AND tacking some dysfucntional issues - from time to time. It's a shame your sister is so low functioning, but if you want a relationship, you can - you just need a little support to figure it out. Or not, you can distance yourself completely, but you might not need to - at least explore your options with a skilled therapist.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • image livinitup:

    I am the "truth teller" in my family. So, I'm the one talking about the elephant. A lot.

    But, even so, I can have a meal from time to time without dissecting every issue we have. Are you engaged in therapy? There are many skills and techniques you can use to tackle all of these relationships. And it's really nice to have someone professionally devoted to you. Hitting that balance it tough, but I really enjoy building some memories with my family AND tacking some dysfucntional issues - from time to time. It's a shame your sister is so low functioning, but if you want a relationship, you can - you just need a little support to figure it out. Or not, you can distance yourself completely, but you might not need to - at least explore your options with a skilled therapist.

    Starting with a therapist in a couple weeks, hopefully it can help me get past a lot of the anger i have towards this whole thing. My family cant even make it thru a meal without my mom trying to assert her control over my life or my sister, at Christmas, who said in front of the entire family, that she should have known we would only come over just for the presents. Yeah, she is a real piece of work. 

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  • image nic326:

    I am really in a pickle and struggle with what to do as far as my family troubles go.

    She is very insecure, has no sense of self, is extremely materialistic, narcissistic and self centered. She is easily manipulated by our mom and cannot stand up for herself or anyone else if they are being wronged. She is not loyal or trustworthy either.

    My mom changed around the time DS 1 was born. She is a control freak who has no boundaries whatsoever.

    My dad is the passive enabler in that relationship who hides from conflict. 

    You seem to have a lot of opinions about what is wrong with your family members.   Have you done any self-reflection?  Analysis of your own behavior?  I find it difficult that the birth of your child just magically changed everyone into such pathetic individuals.

  • image DaringMiss:
    image nic326:

    I am really in a pickle and struggle with what to do as far as my family troubles go.

    She is very insecure, has no sense of self, is extremely materialistic, narcissistic and self centered. She is easily manipulated by our mom and cannot stand up for herself or anyone else if they are being wronged. She is not loyal or trustworthy either.

    My mom changed around the time DS 1 was born. She is a control freak who has no boundaries whatsoever.

    My dad is the passive enabler in that relationship who hides from conflict. 

    You seem to have a lot of opinions about what is wrong with your family members.   Have you done any self-reflection?  Analysis of your own behavior?  I find it difficult that the birth of your child just magically changed everyone into such pathetic individuals.

    Yes, and its also one of the reasons I chose to see a therapist as well. Like i said previously, a lot of this has gone on for years and i didnt realize how much of it ijust put up with. Granted, i am no angel and have done and said things i shouldnt have. But it doesnt mean i accept my moms control issues or her manipulative behavior, etc. And no, the birth of my child didnt change my family. It made me realize that i needed to start setting boundaries with people and stand up for myself more. 

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  • Setting boundaries and decreasing contact are a bit at odds with trying to get everyone to talk about what you think is wrong with them. 
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  • We had issues with my FIL that have led to us cutting off all contact with him. It has been about 3 years since we did that, and I can tell you, the amount of stress that is gone from our lives because of it is amazing.

    Yes, it hurt DH to have to cut all ties, but in the end, we've been much happier.  We've kept contact with BIL and are rather close with him, despite him still being close to FIL.  BIL understands where the line has been drawn, and respects that.

     It sounds to me you've tried to do what you can to change the dynamic - but it's not working. As sad as it is, it's ok to walk away.

  • image moonfrogx:

    We had issues with my FIL that have led to us cutting off all contact with him. It has been about 3 years since we did that, and I can tell you, the amount of stress that is gone from our lives because of it is amazing.

    Yes, it hurt DH to have to cut all ties, but in the end, we've been much happier.  We've kept contact with BIL and are rather close with him, despite him still being close to FIL.  BIL understands where the line has been drawn, and respects that.

     It sounds to me you've tried to do what you can to change the dynamic - but it's not working. As sad as it is, it's ok to walk away.

    This is where Im at with all of this and it sucks. If I could i would list all the things over the past 3 years that led up to this and all the other family members and friends who are in a similar boat with my parents and sister but that would take several pages. And yes, i understand its conflcting to hear I am setting boundaries and also decreasing contact but setting the boundaries and me wanting to talk about problems has led to them shutting me down, continuing to shove things under the rug and consequently less and less contact because of all this because they hide from confluct resolution.  

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