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Old 04-15-2011, 10:10 PM
 
8,682 posts, read 12,474,980 times
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Low contact is the way to go. Forget the principle - would rather be happy or right?

Go to weddings and funerals, send gifts as appropriate, holiday greetings, respond politely but non committally to all communications, never take a call directly from the toxic relatives, always call them back later when thing have cooled down.

They don't define you and it is none of your business what they think of you. And don't let them live rent free inside your head.
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:37 PM
 
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Wow! Some really good advice especially keeping your distance. The distance is often necessary because sometimes that is the only way to set boundaries. Its pathetic that you have to place physical boundaries because your personal boundaries cannot be respected.

"Toxic" family can have a different meaning for each individual. I thought I had toxic family until I decided that "toxic" meant hurting me physically, calling me names, using threatening language and body language, stealing or damaging my property. All of this applies to my immediate family as well. Now that is where I draw the line when it comes to no-contact and thankfully I don't have relatives like this.

Sometimes family members just can't be considered friends. It doesn't mean they don't love or care, it means they don't respect. The way I dealt with their behavior was to serve it back to them but I did it better. Yes, I am bragging. When they did it to me, it was with an attitude of superiority or "I don't care." I did it with "I do care" and that meant that I cared about myself. I did it to set my boundaries.

The reason why it is toxic is because when I fight fire with fire (attitude, not yelling or fighting, etc.), I am hurting another person's feelings in order to protect myself from them. That sucks and I can't put up with that for very long. That is why they don't make good friends and why they drag us down.

I learned this simply because I wanted to give my daughter a better chance at having a better life than I did. I often heard that children cannot be sheltered from mean people but the truth is, most of us are sheltered from truly mean people. That is why we try to live in the best neighborhood or go to the best schools.

What my daughter should be "sheltered" from is meanness but if she is being mean, she needs a time-out, not as a punishment but to teach her that she should recognize when she needs a break from people or when she needs to eat or to sleep.

If a person is angry with me, I don't bother asking why they are mad. I just keep my distance. Most of the time, they come around wondering why I kept my distance . I always try to respond with something civil that has nothing to do with their earlier behavior because there is the possibility that I misunderstood. If they have something to say, they better say it or else get over it.

However, I had to learn something significant about myself. I had to recognize that I can put my best foot forward for about 1-2 hours at a time. Then I need to be by myself or change the scenery for a good 3 hours unless food is served . I am guessing that others may not know this about themselves because of the advice: "Be yourself." Anyway, I no longer keep my distance from my family.

Last edited by crisan; 04-16-2011 at 12:20 AM..
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:40 PM
 
525 posts, read 675,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_CD View Post
That viewpoint indicates you're part of the problem. You're putting pressue on things.

Some families spew the "They're family" crap as a way to help their own emotional distress. Just because someone is a family member is no reason to make them behave a certain way. If someone's behavior doesn't agree with you, stay away from them. It's just that simple. You don't have the right to force them to act in a way that pleases you. If they are toxic and you've brought it to their attention you've done all you can.
so on with you on that subject. My mom is a pro at it. She gotten better about it over the years about giving me the "family crap" when I don't want to do something
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Old 04-16-2011, 12:03 AM
 
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Directed towards the OP:

Since I do not know the level of toxicity, the family dynamic or what roles each member plays it is hard to state blatantly one or the other.

The only thing I can state is that only YOU know what you can and cannot or will not tolerate,

I know it is going to look as very cliche but I have found it to be true..
"The only person you can change or control is yourself"

We all can state no contact or minimal contact however is this going to solve the issue or is there even a solution? We can make others see themselves as WE see them, WE cannot make others behave in a fashion which we DEEM NORMAL.

Reality is that even though WE as individuals may know that there is strife, abnnormal and dysfunctional behaviors and relationships that are occuring in the relationships we have with our immediate family WE cannot sway our family members to see things our way since there maybe ill feelings, resentment, and detachment.

So you seem to be faced with 2 choices which you have already pointed out.."To see or not to see"

No contact as you stated brings scrutiny from others and the cumbersome task of explaining the dynamics and therefore ripping open the wound over and over again..feeling guilt or the inadequacy that perhaps it is you that lacks the tools to make sessionswith your family somewhat bearable at best.

Or you can opt to see your family and be a part of them in "small doses"
With the diostinct knowledge that when you do see them that they HAVE NOT CHANGED and you will be received in the same manner in which you always have...however going into this you are also very aware of what to expect, how they are and that NOTHING is going to change and it is what it is and accepting this reality does not MEAN that you condone the behavior it just means you have accepted them for who they are..
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:27 AM
 
5,067 posts, read 5,103,364 times
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Just because you're a blood relative to someone or a relative to someone you married doesn't mean anything really. Just weigh the individual relationship to see if it has any merit or substance. If it doesn't, why have it? I have my own guidelines for when a person is cut out. I'm patient, but when I'm done, I'm really done.
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:06 PM
 
3,438 posts, read 4,533,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson513 View Post
Low contact is the way to go. Forget the principle - would rather be happy or right?

Go to weddings and funerals, send gifts as appropriate, holiday greetings, respond politely but non committally to all communications, never take a call directly from the toxic relatives, always call them back later when thing have cooled down.

They don't define you and it is none of your business what they think of you. And don't let them live rent free inside your head.
Really good advice Wilson. I especially love "dont let them live rent free inside your head."
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Armsanta Sorad
5,099 posts, read 3,620,199 times
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Pretty low, especially with my mother. If I don't see her, she compares me to other people who do see their children. She loves playing victim that the family she created is poisonous! It's driving me freaking nuts!

Suppose if I was married and spend a lot of time with my wife, I can imagine my mother being all hyped up because I rarely see her. Now that's toxic!


Being long distance from a toxic family will certainly save your mental and physical health.
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Old 04-25-2011, 06:29 PM
 
Location: San Marcos, TX
2,574 posts, read 2,652,824 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neway99 View Post
Although I moved away years ago, I've felt as bothered as if they were right here. There's unresolved anger because I've never been able to have a discussion about it, even to say 'if this goes on I can't be in touch and here's why.' They typically either hang up, drown my voice out with name-calling, or mock. In sum, a refusal to hear me along with an insistence on continuing the abusive behavior (mental/verbal abuse, v. high toxicity). Their determination to remain dysfunctional - that intentionality - bothers me.

They also put on a different show when others are around which, coupled with no open discussions, makes it look like I've jetted for no good reason. While I know the truth, I am uncomfortable being misrepresented like that.

I have become convinced that they are not worthy of contact, it's been a long time coming. but I have a hard time with implementation. It will likely fade to a no-contact state as the low contact goes progressively lower toward nil. As mentioned there is really no one to declare anything to re boundaries, rationale etc. - they literally put their hands over their ears.

I agree with the poster who said so long as the door is open the potentiality of more stressful episodes lurks. And i think my not having had the opportunity to speak or be heard has kept the old tapes very alive too. As a good friend noted- they are far away, they are not really a part of your life but you've kept them so alive in your mind. I have to find a way to exorcise them. Reminds me of a great quote by Mahatma Gandhi: "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet."

Thx all, I appreciate all the advice and sharing of experience...I've read forums specific to this topic, but the breadth of audience here brings a nice range of feedback. Hope my experiences can help some too.
I totally hear you on the misrepresentation thing. My mom communicates to other family members about how I "shut her out" and she's horribly mistreated by me. Conveniently all family members who live out of state and haven't seen her in years, and even then, they never were subjected to her alcoholic insanity and verbal abuse and tirades. So then I get this pressure from those people about "You never know how long she will be around... you don't want to regret not spending time with her...."

I also have empathy because my mother will do things like that; cover her ears, talk or yell over you, or just ignore anything that has a ring of truth when confronted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by West of Encino View Post
Pretty low, especially with my mother. If I don't see her, she compares me to other people who do see their children. She loves playing victim that the family she created is poisonous! It's driving me freaking nuts!

Suppose if I was married and spend a lot of time with my wife, I can imagine my mother being all hyped up because I rarely see her. Now that's toxic!


Being long distance from a toxic family will certainly save your mental and physical health.
Same here. My mom will compare me to people who visit more often. I went "no contact" for a year with her, over the way she was treating my spouse (then fiance).. and it was the most peaceful year ever. It was awesome. She was furious about it and telling everyone but I was HAPPY. We only resumed contact because my Grandmother was hospitalized and it was very serious and of course there I am, the daughter, my mom is losing it and crying and of course I caved.

I wish I had maintained the no contact and I am very close to going there again. I am moving out of state hopefully in a year but don't think that will work.
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Armsanta Sorad
5,099 posts, read 3,620,199 times
Reputation: 1976
My mother's like a foster mother to me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabride View Post
Same here. My mom will compare me to people who visit more often. I went "no contact" for a year with her, over the way she was treating my spouse (then fiance).. and it was the most peaceful year ever. It was awesome. She was furious about it and telling everyone but I was HAPPY. We only resumed contact because my Grandmother was hospitalized and it was very serious and of course there I am, the daughter, my mom is losing it and crying and of course I caved.

I wish I had maintained the no contact and I am very close to going there again. I am moving out of state hopefully in a year but don't think that will work.
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Old 04-27-2011, 09:14 AM
 
6 posts, read 18,792 times
Reputation: 21
Light's House addresses this subject really well: Reducing Contact - LIGHT'S HOUSE
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