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Old 03-14-2012, 06:28 AM
 
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I have very little contact with extended family (cousins, uncles, stepbrothers, etc) not because they are per se toxic, but simply because I have very little in common with them : different way of/philosophy of/ life, different career, different hobbys, a polite conversation during a family event once in a while (a marriage or, unfortunately, a funeral) is enough. Last time it happened (during a marriage), an old aunt told me "Pigeonhole, we haven't -my husband and I-met you in ages, I believe 20 years" Me : "oh no dear aunt, you're wrong we met 10 years ago at the burial of Cousin Holeintehground" My aunt "oh, really ? only 10 years? That's not so much after all! so goodbye Pigeonhole, see you in 10 years"....The irony wasn't lost on me. That's one of the reasons why I'm not so fan of "family get togethers"...
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:06 PM
 
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I see your point, imcurious -- perceiving that someone else is toxic doesn't mean there aren't necessarily things the perceiver can do better, or that the perceiver isn't toxic, either. Very true.

But what if you were dealing with a sociopath or a malignant narcissist? They're 5% of the population, and they respond to any boundaries and limits with total disrespect/vicious rage. They manipulate, lie, and deliberately manufacture toxicity just so they can feed on the people they repeatedly psychologically abuse. You wouldn't give yourself permission to totally stay away from such a person? They seek out people who cannot cut them out in order to take emotional advantage - with a "no-outs" policy like that, they could make you their little play toy forever.

Personally, I have to have the freedom to opt out of a relationship that's hurtful. Sadly, not everyone has good intentions, and currently, psychiatry isn't having a lot of luck treating the ones who don't.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:08 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,851,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitsnpieces View Post
I see your point, imcurious -- perceiving that someone else is toxic doesn't mean there aren't necessarily things the perceiver can do better, or that the perceiver isn't toxic, either. Very true.

But what if you were dealing with a sociopath or a malignant narcissist? They're 5% of the population, and they respond to any boundaries and limits with total disrespect/vicious rage. They manipulate, lie, and deliberately manufacture toxicity just so they can feed on the people they repeatedly psychologically abuse. You wouldn't give yourself permission to totally stay away from such a person? They seek out people who cannot cut them out in order to take emotional advantage - with a "no-outs" policy like that, they could make you their little play toy forever.

Personally, I have to have the freedom to opt out of a relationship that's hurtful. Sadly, not everyone has good intentions, and currently, psychiatry isn't having a lot of luck treating the ones who don't.
I agree. I have a FEW of those people in my family - one I hardly ever have to interact with - another, I interact superficially, on my terms - the third person I keep "forgetting" is Narcissistic and probably alcoholic - because I am hopeful and want to see her as healthy - maybe one day she will be - but I do need to remind myself to limit my interactions.

There are times when it is unavoidable (for me because I would not go "no contact," don't believe in it - I feel I have my family for a reason - maybe something I need to learn or develop). I think cutting people out of your life is barbaric and short-sighted. I "get" that it is easier, but easier isn't always better, if you care about personal development.

If you see life as just materialistic, then I guess it doesn't matter.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:15 PM
NCN
 
Location: NC/SC Border Patrol
21,135 posts, read 21,878,713 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VBmom View Post
I have a toxic family as well. I have very little contact and moved 500 miles away to avoid them. I do feel a little guilty as my parents are aging and my brother, who lives in the same town has recently become homeless. He is of no help to them. At some point, I will have to figure out what to do with my parents but the time has not come yet. I just can't handle the constant racist rants, the guilt trips, the "poor me" conversations, etc. They wallow in their own drama and I have gone on with my life.
Sometimes it's the only way.
Well if your location is for real, you certainly have moved to a pretty place where people mind their own business and let their neighbors do the same. I imagine that helps a lot. But even in the mountains of North Carolina there are toxic people.

We used to have one really trying neighbor that stayed forever, visited often and we were stuck because she was married to my mother's uncle who stayed away from home visiting his children because he could not stand her constant nagging. I just now realize I never called her Aunt. When my mother would see her coming (We lived about a 10th of a mile away.) we would hide up in the woods, in the grainery building, etc. We would have to hunker down and be really quiet. Then after she found us gone and left herself, we would have a really good laugh. Looking back, I feel a little bad for her, but she constantly found fault with everyone. Sometimes when my mother was feeling really good she would do things to keep her at our house a little while longer. The reason for this is that her sister was our neighbor about a 10th of a mile on the other side and she could make her life miserable too. Mom was just giving her sister a little time off.

Dad bought a farm closer to town and we moved but still owned the house we had lived in. My sister got married about that time and to help the newlyweds out, Dad let them live in the house we had left. He only asked them to keep it up. So my brother-in-law who was a complete jewel with a wonderful sense of humor was painting the house one day when here comes the painful neighbor. She did her usual looking around to see what she would help him out with--suggestions and all that! There were a couple of boards on the wall that were not as close as maybe they could have been. She said, "What are you going to do with that crack in the wall?" He said, "I guess I will just have to borrow (my dad's name) crack puller and fix it." He said nothing else and kept painting. She left. I don't think she went there much after that. It was your classic Mayberry scene for real.

Some people are really skilled at being nasty, but if you have the skills to not let them know they are bothering you, maybe you can get out of their range of terror.

Last edited by NCN; 03-14-2012 at 08:45 PM..
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:48 PM
 
Location: On the Ohio River in Western, KY
3,388 posts, read 5,742,060 times
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Originally Posted by Djuna View Post
I have a toxic family.

Without getting into the details I will just say I have chosen the no-contact route.
Same here, and can't be happier for the decision.
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:16 AM
 
2,726 posts, read 4,512,559 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
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.
This is a thoughtful post. I would have to agree, which is probably why I get along with most people in my life. This is one of the things I have always liked about myself.

I don't actively minimize contact and watch boundaries at the same time. I allow people to behave how they want and if I have to say something, then I will. Some people are bothered by what I say or how I say it. They are the ones who actively minimize contact with me. Less work for me.
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:26 AM
 
2,726 posts, read 4,512,559 times
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Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
I have very little contact with extended family (cousins, uncles, stepbrothers, etc) not because they are per se toxic, but simply because I have very little in common with them : different way of/philosophy of/ life, different career, different hobbys, a polite conversation during a family event once in a while (a marriage or, unfortunately, a funeral) is enough. Last time it happened (during a marriage), an old aunt told me "Pigeonhole, we haven't -my husband and I-met you in ages, I believe 20 years" Me : "oh no dear aunt, you're wrong we met 10 years ago at the burial of Cousin Holeintehground" My aunt "oh, really ? only 10 years? That's not so much after all! so goodbye Pigeonhole, see you in 10 years"....The irony wasn't lost on me. That's one of the reasons why I'm not so fan of "family get togethers"...
Your aunt's words is the reason why you are not a fan of family get togethers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
I agree. I have a FEW of those people in my family - one I hardly ever have to interact with - another, I interact superficially, on my terms - the third person I keep "forgetting" is Narcissistic and probably alcoholic - because I am hopeful and want to see her as healthy - maybe one day she will be - but I do need to remind myself to limit my interactions.

There are times when it is unavoidable (for me because I would not go "no contact," don't believe in it - I feel I have my family for a reason - maybe something I need to learn or develop). I think cutting people out of your life is barbaric and short-sighted. I "get" that it is easier, but easier isn't always better, if you care about personal development.

If you see life as just materialistic, then I guess it doesn't matter.
IMO, people can feel cut out when they are actively put on the low-contact list. It is my opinion that actively minimizing contact with people is punishment on me. I just don't do it. I tell them what they should or should not be doing (hey, don't talk about my husband that way.) and life goes on.
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:46 PM
 
46 posts, read 117,610 times
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Originally Posted by crisan View Post
I tell them what they should or should not be doing (hey, don't talk about my husband that way.) and life goes on.
I think you're comparing apples and oranges in regards to your situation and those that others may experience with their families. If your family is generally functional and placid enough that you need only say "don't talk about my husband that way" and life goes on, you likely don't need to go no-contact with your family. Other people are not so lucky. They may be dealing with issues of family violence, abuse, fraud or other serious toxicity and the others involved do not react well to a gentle reminder.
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:08 PM
 
Location: In my skin
9,048 posts, read 14,317,693 times
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No contact for me. I did it once, went back and opened the door and ended up having to slam it shut for good. I think those who value family will project that upon those who don't. Hey, we're family, we shouldn't cut them out. But, we're the only one's doing the valuing and accepting that isn't easy, but you have to face it or risk losing your sanity and quality of life dealing with the toxicity.

It's not easy. It's been about 6 years for me and it's still a little painful but it's gotten a better and this is far better than the pain of keeping her around. The family I have more than makes up for her absence.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:09 PM
 
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I don't do no contact but I do practice as less of contact as possible with some members.
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