U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Non-Romantic Relationships
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-27-2013, 07:48 AM
 
13,677 posts, read 13,579,480 times
Reputation: 39884

Advertisements

Shortly before I moved halfway across the country a few years ago, there was a huge rift in my family. Although I was not the wronged party, I ceased all communications with the section of my family that had behaved in the most dysfunctional way. This included the two "perpetrators" and their mother and father, who supported their actions. I had previously been very close to those family members.

I'm not going into details about WHAT happened, but let's just say I haven't found anyone who thinks what they did was anything but completely dysfunctional. Other outside parties have classified what they did as "sociopathic."

Well, over the holiday, the mother called the relatives I was spending time with. Everyone made nice on the phone like nothing had ever happened, even the wronged parties. I told them to just say I was napping in another room. Later some family members who are very important to me chided me (gently) for not just talking with her when she called. And now I'm feeling very conflicted.

I was once one of the hubs of my family. I got along with everyone and I was the first person anyone called when they had a problem. Now I feel like I'm the "difficult" family member who is possibly blocking a family reconciliation, in particular for other members of my generation.

But here's the thing: Nothing's changed. The perpetrators (such a dramatic word) and their parents are still highly dysfunctional people with those same backstabbing, manipulative personalities. I'm not sure what the benefit is to letting them into my life - like, when are they going to turn the shiv on me? But I also know I have an "avoidant" personality - I don't like conflict, incivility or drama, so I run from it rather than holding my ground. I'm bad at confronting people for a variety of reasons, and I know that's really one of my fatal flaws.

So would you reconcile with family members in this situation? Even if you knew you couldn't trust them and it would just be in the name of keeping the family peace? I know my estrangement from those family members has made things uncomfortable for some of my other relatives who are very dear to me. It's easy for me - I live 2,000 miles away. The rest of my family is all in the same area, bumping into each other all the time.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-27-2013, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,324,391 times
Reputation: 13779
I personally would not. One of my brothers and his wife are about as dysfunctional as you'll find, and I don't speak to them. I put up with this pair's lies, manipulations, selfishness, spitefulness and downright nastiness for over 25 years, and I'm done with them. I would reconcile with one of their daughters, but I think the Wicked Witch of the West (SIL) has made her choose between Mom and Aunt, so I'm not going to cause trouble for her. The other daughter ignores her entire family, so I don't worry about her.

PS - My other two brothers don't talk to them, either, and Wicked Witch of the West has had all kinds of problems with her own family as well, so this isn't just me being a b----.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-27-2013, 03:41 PM
 
Location: State of Waiting
607 posts, read 762,326 times
Reputation: 1392
That is a tough call.

On one hand, I want to say to you - do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? Choosing the path of least resistence here would induce a "reconcilation" of sorts from you, making things smooth and bump free, you wouldn't hear any flack from your other family members. You live 2,000 miles away, who really cares? You won't see them on a regular basis, correct? I am guessing all parties live in a small town and run into each other constantly? This option would not be the "healthiest" but maybe the easiest for everyone, if you want to just go along. However, I would STILL not initiate contact with these people - merely be polite and social when you encounter them on your trip home. Don't let yourself get sucked into any drama or manipulation. Keep at arms length.

But then in order to be true to yourself, the above scenario won't work. You know? You would have to maintain your chosen stance, frankly which I find honorable. Also that you don't want to get sucked into that BS which is so emotionally draining. A very tough call for you, OP.

Let's hear more from you after some other people comment. I am curious which way you will go with this.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-27-2013, 10:02 PM
 
6,756 posts, read 8,308,643 times
Reputation: 6787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaving4Ca View Post
merely be polite and social when you encounter them on your trip home. Don't let yourself get sucked into any drama or manipulation. Keep at arms length.
This is what I try to do with my parents, and it works for me for the most part. Not always, as you can see from my other thread here :/.

But, you know, I have been doing it for decades -- being civil and polite, but not close. Now my parents are elderly and I wonder if I made the right choice, or if I should have pushed harder to actually resolve issues.

I am not sure what I could have done differently, though. Some people (and that group of your relatives sounds the same way) are just not capable, or not willing to do what it would take, for change.

I find civil and polite more practical than no interaction at all. But I don't know if the same would be true in your situation.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-27-2013, 11:17 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,849,575 times
Reputation: 8956
You can develop good, solid personal boundaries AND embrace forgiveness and have relationships with family. You might have to remind yourself not to wholeheartedly trust, but that shouldn't stop you from being friendly and civil and enjoying what is good in others and overlooking what you don't like so much.

You are not perfect either and if you really look deep at your own behavior, I'm sure others could judge you as "dysfunctional," as well.

Pathological labels rarely serve anyone.

Your guilt is a compass that is guiding you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-27-2013, 11:25 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,740 posts, read 4,365,107 times
Reputation: 10385
Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
Shortly before I moved halfway across the country a few years ago, there was a huge rift in my family. Although I was not the wronged party, I ceased all communications with the section of my family that had behaved in the most dysfunctional way. This included the two "perpetrators" and their mother and father, who supported their actions. I had previously been very close to those family members.

I'm not going into details about WHAT happened, but let's just say I haven't found anyone who thinks what they did was anything but completely dysfunctional. Other outside parties have classified what they did as "sociopathic."

Well, over the holiday, the mother called the relatives I was spending time with. Everyone made nice on the phone like nothing had ever happened, even the wronged parties. I told them to just say I was napping in another room. Later some family members who are very important to me chided me (gently) for not just talking with her when she called. And now I'm feeling very conflicted.

I was once one of the hubs of my family. I got along with everyone and I was the first person anyone called when they had a problem. Now I feel like I'm the "difficult" family member who is possibly blocking a family reconciliation, in particular for other members of my generation.

But here's the thing: Nothing's changed. The perpetrators (such a dramatic word) and their parents are still highly dysfunctional people with those same backstabbing, manipulative personalities. I'm not sure what the benefit is to letting them into my life - like, when are they going to turn the shiv on me? But I also know I have an "avoidant" personality - I don't like conflict, incivility or drama, so I run from it rather than holding my ground. I'm bad at confronting people for a variety of reasons, and I know that's really one of my fatal flaws.

So would you reconcile with family members in this situation? Even if you knew you couldn't trust them and it would just be in the name of keeping the family peace? I know my estrangement from those family members has made things uncomfortable for some of my other relatives who are very dear to me. It's easy for me - I live 2,000 miles away. The rest of my family is all in the same area, bumping into each other all the time.
Why exactly would YOUR estrangement from these people make things uncomfortable for some of your other relatives? Do these "other relatives" feel they are being forced to take sides? Or do they think you should forget the whole thing and feel required to make excuses for you as to why you won't? Either way, I think the other relatives are the ones who should drop it. If the sociopath crowd is pressuring them that "it's either us or him" that alone speaks volumes. They're attempting emotional blackmail via third parties that you care about. If you give in, you'll be rewarding them for their abhorrent behavior, and they'll feel free to act badly the next time something happens, and believe me, there will be a next time.

You don't need to make a big deal about it, but stick to your guns. If your other relatives bring it up, change the subject. If they feel required to make excuses for you, they shouldn't. You are responsible for your own actions, not them. I put up with a sociopathic relative for years when everyone else was advising me to walk away. What a mistake! I should have listened to my friends' advise. The whole thing ended very badly, leaving me feeling like a fool for being so forgiving. Do what you need to take care of yourself and let your other family members do the same.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-28-2013, 04:05 AM
 
18,348 posts, read 23,510,540 times
Reputation: 34397
often we look at conflict as win/lose.... winners, losers, good/bad ,,,perps and allies, taking sides in strength in numbers...

what an ignorant blanket many in this world warm themselves with- but unfortunately, this is real life, and happens with many families.

if you can play peacemaker for most to get along thats ok,,,, remember adults set the norms for kids- and if your family is playing it real, in a toxic conflict,,,kids are going to think its the norm...


ultimately, go with your gut feeling,, dont compromise yourself, trying to do the impossible,,but yet, if you are a family confidant,,,,dont overlook opportunities to unite... i think we all fall into these roles at some point in life..
youve got to decide if the effort is worth the reward...(not just for yourself)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-28-2013, 05:40 AM
 
12,686 posts, read 14,063,903 times
Reputation: 34757
I don't see how anyone can heal an estrangement until the cause of it has been neutralized or cured.

It is an infected wound and the wound will not heal until the infection is eliminated. Of course, you can put a Band-Aid over it, but this is likely to be simply cosmetic and the wound will continue to fester until the Band-Aid is no longer effective.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-28-2013, 06:32 AM
 
1,191 posts, read 1,534,939 times
Reputation: 3440
For me, it would depend on how bad the "thing" was (and I completely respect your privacy and understand you not wanting to embellish.) My answer would differ depending on if we were talking about cousin Edna stealing cousin Lauren's boyfriend after they cheated behind her back versus Uncle Herb touching one of his nieces inappropriately and everyone wanting to sweep it under the rug. There are some issues I would never back down on, and there are others that even if they were in the wrong, if it was THAT important to the family members I DID care about, I would put on a nice face and be civil. The fortunate thing is that you live 2,000 miles away, so it would be entirely possible to have very rare contact and just a few polite minutes of, "Oh, I've been so busy, sorry we haven't chatted more..." per year and get away with it. Good luck.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-28-2013, 10:36 AM
 
47,573 posts, read 60,610,897 times
Reputation: 22283
I think you should do what you want to do, but since you always got along with everybody, you could still do that, especially since you live 2000 miles away from them all.

Some people just like to fight - they love drama or they stay so close that they get on each others' nerves. I don't like family conflict and I also live away from them, so I can easily just stay neutral and stay out of whatever -- but in my family they don't stay mad, they might not talk with each other for 2 months straight but then they seem to kiss and make up.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Non-Romantic Relationships
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top