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Old 04-27-2011, 08:43 PM
 
1,072 posts, read 2,314,004 times
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Low-contact or no-contact is completely up to you. Only you can make that decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neway99 View Post
I am disappointed that I still feel the intrusion, across the miles just an email or call does it both because they continue to be toxic even from a distance and because of the history already tolerated. It's what I meant that even with no-contact, you'd know they are there and it's discomfiting anyway?
As for the intrusive feeling... It does go away with time after you've cut all contact. I tried minimal contact with my mother, and grew tired of constantly having to reinforce boundaries, in addition to every encounter with her being a miserable experience. It was taking too much time and energy. Then I minimized contact even further, and only allowed emails. The intrusion as you describe it continued. The next step was to cut contact altogether, and I would say after about a year I began to feel very peaceful. Now I rarely think of my mother, and when I do, all that anger and resentment has dissipated. Going no contact was the only way that I was able to achieve peace in my life. Plus I had to protect my children, which was of course the most important thing. My mother and her minions still try to push boundaries occasionally, but it doesn't get to me like it used to.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Neway99 View Post
Isn't there a way to go no-contact without flat out saying it, or does the conscience demand more.
Some people go no contact just by ignoring the other person. I personally do not think this is a good option. It is better to clearly set the boundaries IMO. Avoiding all contact without flat out saying it may be easier if you live far apart. If I had tried cutting contact without flat out saying it, it would have never happened. My mom would have been beating down my door. The approach I took was to tell my mother that I needed to end contact for what I guessed would be a long time so that I could work through my own issues. I previously went through all the b.s. of trying to explain things to her, trying to help her gain insight into her destructive (abusive, violent, criminal, drug addicted) behavior, and of course that didn't work. That's why I left it at "it's me, working on my problems." But the boundaries were made VERY clear.

Good luck to you.
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:18 PM
 
Location: state of procrastination
3,487 posts, read 6,359,891 times
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I just realized today that my adult family members are toxic not necessarily as individuals, but definitely in certain combinations. I usually get along with most people and can hide my disdain pretty well by maintaining neutrality. But some people are always fighting in certain combinations and they keep bugging me by trying to pull me into these situations. I can see how each side is right and wrong but they simply cannot deal with their own issues. If only they would grow the eff up and decide to have no contact with each other, that would be wonderful.

Ultimately I might have to go the low/no contact route for ALL of them.... they all suck as a combo so I might have no choice! Plus they started questioning me about my salary and earning potentials recently so I think there might be some hint of a gold digging behavior... maybe that is why they all pretend to get along with me.... hrmmm....
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:53 PM
 
Location: In my skin
9,048 posts, read 14,319,405 times
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I have a sibling I no longer speak to. The constant anger I felt having her in my life was far worse than just having the memories of what she has done. I feel zero guilt, my life is better without her in it. I get the occasional "But she's FAMILY!" and I feel no pressure, no shame. My response, if even care to give one, is that I am also family to her and that meant nothing. I have an amazing sister who I consider to be my only sister. I have friends who are more like family than she will ever be. They more than make up.
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Old 04-30-2011, 06:43 AM
 
95 posts, read 224,807 times
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Thinking about it more in light of the responses, I think guilt is not the bigger issue for me here... I work on the merits-based system and do believe I've fairly evaluated things based on their behavior and my own. I've done more than my share trying to establish normalcy but they seem to prefer dysfunctionalism and respond to niceness with meanness, so I realized it's not my doing and the progress can't be made since we're not interested in the same objective. Assessing things fairly but not giving unearned privileges on some random basis (e.g., we're biologically related), is a good value I developed.

So I have this principle down, but not the implementation (my emphasis in bold)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix lady View Post
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.
I would like to get to here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PassTheChocolate View Post
I get the occasional "But she's FAMILY!" and I feel no pressure, no shame. My response, if even care to give one, is that I am also family to her and that meant nothing...


I think the biggest obstacles for me are coming from baggage that interferes with my life in an overall sense.

1. worrying too much about what people say/think and the direct accusations that will come out of it
Despite knowing that people talk smack no matter what, they don't define you, your own opinion matters most and so on, worrying about what people say is a weakness of mine. For obvious reasons, that can keep you in a tailspin forever. But I still cringe at what will be said about me and to me for going no contact, so have avoided it. I know I shouldn't be so concerned about answering to people, or even feel I should have to answer to people, esp. knowing this isn't my fault... cognitive dissonance.


2. angst around good-byes / how to disentangle
I have a general uncomfortableness with goodbyes. Finality bothers me... (see also: my dislike of making big decisions). So I tend to ether out gradually rather than sever ties, even though it is a more painful process than ripping off the bandaid and getting things over with. It also keeps the wrong situations afloat longer than should be.
Oddly, I used to be the other way around - moving on quickly, even too quickly, when I thought the situation wasn't right. Unfortunately I thought sticking it out with relatives was the right thing to do, so they did not fall under the general sweep during this phase of mine. By the time I'd figured out what was actually right, I'd moved into my fearful-to-make-a-move phase. It's very ironic because they should have been the first out, and some other things I ushered out should have been given more time.
Anyway, this has also kept me in low contact rather than no contact even though no contact is merited.


It is clear to me why these are not people I want to know, but I do know them and haven't found a comfortable way to handle that. I've been making some progress on my 2 points above that should help. Then I need to be willing to act on that clarity when it comes.

I hope everyone is finding a balance that works for them. (sabride: Thank you for your empathy, yes the misrepresentation thing is really bothersome. Do move away... distance doesn't solve it but helps a lot).


And a very thought-provoking question from Wilson513 (hey can I be right AND happy? ) :
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson513 View Post
Low contact is the way to go. Forget the principle - would rather be happy or right?

Last edited by Neway99; 04-30-2011 at 07:16 AM..
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:07 PM
 
46 posts, read 117,620 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neway99 View Post
Despite knowing that people talk smack no matter what, they don't define you, your own opinion matters most and so on, worrying about what people say is a weakness of mine. For obvious reasons, that can keep you in a tailspin forever. But I still cringe at what will be said about me and to me for going no contact, so have avoided it.
Most people who have gone low-contact or no-contact will tell you that one of the most difficult parts of that status is all of the third-parties who get in the middle. I have found that the best way to get judgmental outsiders off your back is to calmly solicit them to interact more with the toxic person. No obvious sarcasm, no flippant comebacks.

For example, you've recently cut off your father because he's violent with you. Bonnie Busybody calls you out of the blue.

Bonnie Busybody: I just can't can't believe you're not speaking to your father! Family is everything, and you'll regret this!

You: Hello Bonnie, good to hear from you. Say, Father just lost his job because he punched out his boss and threw a chair through the window. He's looking for a new job now. Are you still looking for a waiter to work at your restaurant?
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:21 PM
 
46 posts, read 117,620 times
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Quote:
My mother continues to treat me very abusively whenever we have contact which is rare. Save money, leave your home state-- you won't regret it.
While I agree with you that gaining geographic distance from your toxic family is a great idea, don't ever underestimate what narcissistic relative with a grudge can do, even to victims who've moved to different time zones! Stalkers can do their dirty deeds from afar, especially with the power of Google and Facebook enabling them to find out where you work, who your friends are, and what local groups you join.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:51 PM
 
6 posts, read 32,755 times
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At least it sure beats living nearby, though! Some of them can be unrelenting, I know, but at least moving far away makes it much more inconvenient for them. Imagine the gas money they'll have to shell out alone - why, that's like a tax for being nasty!

In all seriousness, though, the other good thing about moving is that if you ARE dealing with a harassment situation, it makes it clear to the police just how cuckoo this person is that they would travel for hours just to reach someone who was trying to have nothing to do with them. That says a ton about their mental status.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:46 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,853,196 times
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I used to see this as a black and white issue, but no longer. I have people in my family who I identify as "toxic," but I am not a person who believes in cutting people out of their life so I just minimize contact and pay attention to boundaries.

What I have opened my eyes to recently is how the person who thinks OTHER people are toxic could be toxic themselves . . .case in point . . .I have a family member who is very dysfunctional, probably alcoholic . . .has caused rifts or scenes with many family members . . . recently I needed to contact her for business purposes and was told she was not talking to me because I am toxic . . .that really amazed me considering the reputation she has . . .but for her, I am toxic . . .

So it's all relative.

You people who are pointing the finger at others . . .have you taken a good look at yourselves? It's easy to identify some people as toxic - I have classic toxic people in my family that no one would argue are dysfunctional . . .but there is also the issue of blindspots . . .

Most people have some obnoxious or annoying behaviors . . .so the people you have deemed toxic might have some complaints about you . . .and there might be some truth to them even though you feel the source is not credible and you don't like the people . . .

That's the crux of it really . . .there are just some people other people don't like . . .they might have annoying to abuse behaviors . . . when the behaviors cross over to abusive, then I think the label of toxic can be applied . . .but in many cases people you don't like who are just plain annoying or don't have the same values as you are pathologized as "toxic," and you label yourself as saintly in comparison. I think there is a ton of self-deception in such black and white approaches . . .but it sure feels good to blame others and not look at your own annoying behaviors and blindspots.

Last edited by imcurious; 03-13-2012 at 09:58 PM..
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
3,160 posts, read 6,939,526 times
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No contact. Without any exceptions. I've lived it and it's the only way. "Limited contact" just opens up the possibility of them attempting to control you or emotionally hurt you.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:36 PM
 
3,735 posts, read 3,932,668 times
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Both my parents are extremely toxic. It's taken me a long time to accept that they will never ever change so I limit my interactions with them and try to keep conversations brief and superficial.

Luckily I have a good relationship with my sister and with many other relatives. So I focus on those.
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