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Old 04-17-2014, 09:43 AM
 
37,862 posts, read 14,749,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by convextech View Post
It's a shame that your other relatives are putting pressure on you regarding their misfortune.

I refuse to allow toxic people into my life. Relative or former friend, I have no problem walking away from people and never looking back.

In my opinion, you should stand up for what you believe in, and tell your relatives if they want to entertain their dysfunction, to go right ahead, but you refuse to be dragged down into their toxic mire.
Agree.

I have a cousin who walked out on her three little kids to go off partying with fellow. Years later, she shows back up and her mom wants everyone in the family to "let bygones be bygones."

Why? The woman is a drunk who abandoned her children. What reason would I want to have even one more conversation with her?

There are plenty of loving, good people to associate with.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Chicago area
14,267 posts, read 7,860,746 times
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If you're missing chaos and toxic behavior call them up and ask them to meet you at a restaurant for a free dinner. If you value your sanity keep them at arms length like your other relatives do. It's sad that they are related to you and maybe you feel some form of obligation to have a relationship with them because they are family? If they were friends of yours and they behaved this way would you still be friends with them? You're the only one that can decide if they're worth the effort of spending time with them walking on egg shells waiting for the next outrageous axe to fall. Isn't it sad that we can't choose our families?
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:59 AM
 
12,544 posts, read 12,462,523 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
So how would YOU do it? I'd love some thoughts on this.
I tried reconciling with my eldest sibling. Three months later she reminded me of why I hadn't spoken to her for five years before that.

People don't change. If you put your hand back in the fire, you're only going to get burned again. Life is too short for that crap, IMHO.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:03 AM
 
Location: On the corner of Grey Street
6,067 posts, read 8,325,737 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Roses View Post
I think you may be feeling nostalgic for a past that isn't there anymore, so naturally the urge to re-create that is powerful. I guess I would think about what your desired outcome will be if you re-establish relations with them, and how likely it is that you will achieve that outcome. Best wishes to you on making that decision.
This is exactly what I was thinking. Do you really want to be close to them again, or are you just feeling nostalgic for the past and the way things used to be? I have a relative I used to be extremely close to. She behaved horribly at a very bad time in my life and caused further family drama in a time that was already dramatic without her help. I'm polite to her and see her a few times a year at holidays and such, but I merely tolerate her. I do not like her. I will never get past the way she behaved to desire a close relationship with her.

I remember the incident you're talking about. Do you really want to be close to people who think that was an appropriate way to behave at a funeral? I could see getting past it IF they came to you with very sincere apologies. But they haven't. They haven't admitted to doing anything out of line, or acknowledged the incident at all. Neither did my relative and I'm just not the type to sweep things under the rug and go back like nothing happened. I can't. That doesn't mean you actively hate them, wish them ill, or never speak to them again. I think it is possible for you to have a very face value and on the surface relationship with them where it would be appropriate to send them a thinking of you card and acknowledge their hard times, but not get sucked up into any of the drama.
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:17 PM
 
47,576 posts, read 60,475,092 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strawberrykiki View Post
This is exactly what I was thinking. Do you really want to be close to them again, or are you just feeling nostalgic for the past and the way things used to be? I have a relative I used to be extremely close to. She behaved horribly at a very bad time in my life and caused further family drama in a time that was already dramatic without her help. I'm polite to her and see her a few times a year at holidays and such, but I merely tolerate her. I do not like her. I will never get past the way she behaved to desire a close relationship with her.

I remember the incident you're talking about. Do you really want to be close to people who think that was an appropriate way to behave at a funeral? I could see getting past it IF they came to you with very sincere apologies. But they haven't. They haven't admitted to doing anything out of line, or acknowledged the incident at all. Neither did my relative and I'm just not the type to sweep things under the rug and go back like nothing happened. I can't. That doesn't mean you actively hate them, wish them ill, or never speak to them again. I think it is possible for you to have a very face value and on the surface relationship with them where it would be appropriate to send them a thinking of you card and acknowledge their hard times, but not get sucked up into any of the drama.
That's probably a good approach -- it's really up to the OP -- some people want some kind of family - even if their family isn't completely great. Others can write them all off permanently.

What's interesting is that sometimes you see families that weren't what you'd call dysfunctional become quite distant from one another and some that are very dysfunctional remain close - even if just to keep fighting and bickering. It's just about what the individuals want to do.

Or maybe the OP needs closure of some kind. Sometimes things can be quite heated but you can't quite sever the bonds completely without some kind of closure. It's one of those situations that doesn't have a clear answer, there's no clear right or wrong way, it's just what is in one's heart. It's whatever "family" means.

Even with alcoholics, people can sometimes see them as sick people who don't choose to be drunks. They forgive them for their illness. Others see them as evil, others just don't want to be around them ever even if they are family.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,570 posts, read 14,187,164 times
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I'm on the side of the poster speculating that the OP is nostalgic for a former closeness, and perhaps also feels a little guilty about not reciprocating support for two people he was formerly close to. If the OP does resume contact, he or she should be prepared to be sucked into their private world of dysfunction. If he or she desires a little drama, or a lot, then I think resuming contact would work.

If, he or she, really does NOT desire more drama, and to be sucked into a dysfunctional world, then I would recommend keeping distant.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:01 AM
YAZ
 
Location: Phoenix,AZ
7,075 posts, read 11,806,142 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilac110 View Post
I tried reconciling with my eldest sibling. Three months later she reminded me of why I hadn't spoken to her for five years before that.

People don't change. If you put your hand back in the fire, you're only going to get burned again. Life is too short for that crap, IMHO.
If folks COMPLETELY change, then it usually takes a very long time OR...a very traumatic event.

I'm in your camp with this topic.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:45 PM
 
16,025 posts, read 19,571,183 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
Yeah, I thought about your first point quite a bit. I'd never confronted them over anything before, and they'd frequently asked my advice on things, so apparently they found my opinion worth something. In this case, there was no way I could have kept silent, even though I was out of the room at the time of the confrontation.

I don't want to get too specific about the "crime." They did something vulgar (to show the deceased's "fun" side) at the funeral that offended a lot of people and would have horrified the deceased, and when confronted, they became loud and abusive towards those closest to the deceased, with some bystanders speculating there would be physical violence. Many of the deceased's elderly friends and relatives were shocked, offended and distressed by what they saw, and other relatives were left to soothe those ruffled feathers when they were themselves in mourning and utterly exhausted. It was all "fixable" - as in, a sincere apology would have gone a long way to smoothing things over. But they insisted they were proud of what they did and said other relatives were lying about how upset other mourners had been.


Or is all of that just horribly cryptic?

Like I said, what bothers me and makes me reconsider the estrangement is that we were once very close, and they were very important to me during some of the worst times in my life. I guess I knew what they were capable of, but I just believed (hoped?) it wouldn't ever affect me. But I feel weird not being able to reciprocate their previous support for me.

I should probably add that that side of the family is all but congenitally incapable of apologizing for anything.
And you want to rekindle a relationship with these folks Why? I think you should really think this through. That is beyond unacceptable, especially at a funeral....
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Old 04-20-2014, 08:17 AM
 
47,576 posts, read 60,475,092 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silibran View Post
I'm on the side of the poster speculating that the OP is nostalgic for a former closeness, and perhaps also feels a little guilty about not reciprocating support for two people he was formerly close to. If the OP does resume contact, he or she should be prepared to be sucked into their private world of dysfunction. If he or she desires a little drama, or a lot, then I think resuming contact would work.

If, he or she, really does NOT desire more drama, and to be sucked into a dysfunctional world, then I would recommend keeping distant.
Or resume contact but with eyes wide open. Some people have a need for "family". I've seen people in very dysfunctional families actually remain close -- they just accept each other for the way they are, warts and all, or they like the drama -- whatever it is. Then there are others whose families were fine but they have little need for family.

It just depends on what the OP wants out of life -- you can live your life family-less or you can take the family you ended up with and just deal with them some way.
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Old 04-20-2014, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,326 posts, read 17,356,004 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
This is long and overly dramatic, but I figured some advice would be nice.

Emigrations' recent post got me thinking about some things. Some of you may have read my previous threads on this board about my formerly close family members whom I no longer speak to after they behaved horrifically at another relative's funeral. Some here have told me to run and never look back and others have told me I should reconcile. And my apologies if you've read the other threads and are sick to death of the subject!

Basically I don't speak to 4 relatives (two sisters and their parents) who were once very dear to me. I don't bear them any hostility, but they have always been dysfunctional and exploitative, and I view them warily. However, I'm also living 2,000 miles away now, so what damage can they really do?

The parents have both reached out to me, but I have avoided them. Their daughters were really the perpetrators, but their parents alternately goaded them into the behavior and supported it afterwards.

Recently the daughters have been going through hard times - a divorce, an education derailed, etc. I don't know if this is my old acclimation to dysfunctional behavior resurfacing or what, but I feel like I should be there for them. It's been nearly a 4-year estrangement.

Here are the indisputable facts:

1) Their behavior was reprehensible - I told a lot of people the story as neutrally as possible, and every single one was aghast, with no room for mitigating circumstances. Some of them didn't even believe me, because the behavior was so over the top.

2) Their behavior was hurtful to other relatives close to me. But those injured parties do have some limited, arms' length contact with the relatives in question. Those relationships are irrevocably damaged though.

3) I told the estranged relatives at the time that they owed the injured parties an apology, and was informed they were proud of their behavior and would do it again. That was when I walked away. They were the ones to unfriend me on FB - yeah, I know, the death blow to any relationship, lol.

Ever since I was recently chided by yet another close relative (whose opinion I respect and who is like my sibling) for not having contact with those other family members after having enjoyed their hospitality and affection for so long, I have been questioning my decision, and knowing that they are going through tough times is saddening to me. I still don't know what I want to do, but even if I did want to reconcile, I have no idea how to go about it. Plus, I'd be reconciling with the whole bunch - they're very "all or nothing."

So how would YOU do it? I'd love some thoughts on this.
The only thing I would do is contact them, let them know you heard they are going through personal difficulties, and are available for them to contact if need be.

I've had some family members do some awful things over the years. One grandfather was a severe alcoholic and often assaulted my grandmother, they slept around on each other, had numerous arrests, legal issues, etc. None of my immediate family was "estranged" from him, but they didn't want much to do with him. He had a heart attack in 2010 at 74 and was abusive to the family and hospital staff. He's finally achieved lasting sobriety and has been an important part of the family since. There were plenty of grounds for estrangement, but he's turned around in his old age.

A wealthy uncle of mine dropped the news to his wife of fifteen years that he was leaving her on Christmas Day 2011 and marrying a new woman. Everyone, understandably, thinks he's a scoundrel, but he's always been a class act to me. I certainly don't approve of his personal life, but he's always been good to me and I'm not going to estrange myself from him for something that didn't impact me directly.

Was the behavior so bad as to be unforgivable? I'm assuming something bad was said about the dead person, but dead is dead, and sometimes we just have to move forward and deal with what happened.
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