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Old 03-22-2012, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,397,767 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
I

People rarely "change" as they age. Sure, years of therapy, a sentinel life event - that may shake people up to the point that they re-examine their lives, their interactions, their ways of dealing with anxiety or stress . . . and some suddenly decide to "come to Jesus" . . . but real change - deliberate change - such as - learning how to interact w/ others without constantly creating a "situation" (and drama) . . . it rarely happens without serious intent and years of self-analysis and self-awareness.

The healthiest thing we can do is refuse to be part of the family dysfunction. Every family has it to some extent. Think about individual roles. There will very often be 1. the black sheep 2. the martyr 3. the helpless one 4. the Know-it-All 5. the User 6. the relationship splitter, and so forth.

The only sane thing to do is disengage. This doesn't always mean we have to completely "divorce" the whole family, lol. But we don't have to play the games and get sucked into the drama. And we can still be polite and civil - send a card, visit someone in the hospital, etc.

And about "thank yous" . . . people who continually ask for assistance usually come to resent the giver. Funny how that works, isn't it?

It does not make us bad people when we come to realize we are only being used . . .or when we realize we are enabling another person's continued bad behaviors . . . or when we realize our good intentions (and sometimes, sacrifices) are not appreciated.

Family may be connected by DNA, but that doesn't mean they are gonna be people we enjoy having in our lives. Conversely, not having them in our lives may be a blessed relief.

You are spot on with this. I was 50+ before I was able to let go of the notion that "All family members should ~~~~~" and just give up trying to fix an unfixable situation. I had to finally walk away and I feel so much better having done it. I don't know what they do to entertain themselves now that they have no one else to "play" with. So sad.
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,397,767 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi60 View Post
As the years are rolling on, more and more people I know are no longer with us. I have noticed that the happiest people I know, just refuse to even discuss the newest lost one but seem to focus only on what is still here. I have another old friend who just shuts out anything but her faith, select family members & friends. It seems that there just isn't enough time left to worry about what we can't change.
Very wise words - hope I can remember them.
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,397,767 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Your post makes me wonder about whether men and women deal with family dysfunction better than others. My ex, and I'd say most of the men I personally know, tend to distance themselves more easily than women do. Women, in my experience, tend to want to fix things, make them better, and sometimes become martyrs to helping others over and above. I am still obsessing over my long-gone parents' violence and unhappiness, wondering how even as a kid I might have done something to fix it. That feeds a little into survivor guilt, too. I am not trying to be sexist here, just wondering about the general difference between women and men when it comes to dealing with family trouble.
I totally agree with this. I think males find it a bit too easy to do so and women need to get over things (accept them and move on) sooner - there's a happy medium somewhere in there.

I find women tend to feel guilty about way too many things - things beyond their control - why is that??????????? Conditioning perhaps.
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:05 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,502,154 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Umbria View Post
I totally agree with this. I think males find it a bit too easy to do so and women need to get over things (accept them and move on) sooner - there's a happy medium somewhere in there.

I find women tend to feel guilty about way too many things - things beyond their control - why is that??????????? Conditioning perhaps.
Perhaps conditioning. Perhaps the nurture nature.

SOME men may find it easy. I never have but there have been and continue to be times when that's all that's left. In those instances you can allow it to fester and make your life unpleasant or you can simply acknowledge that it's unlikely to change and move on with your life. Obviously, I prefer the latter mode. Doing otherwise results in a grudge and life's too short for those as well.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,988,950 times
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Things are a lot harder to ignore/walk away from if the dysfunctional person in question is one of your own kids....
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:05 PM
 
Location: State of Superior
8,628 posts, read 13,898,220 times
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When this dysfunctional person is your husband or wife, all bets are off considering the previous posts. Other factors enter into decisions . Age is always a big one, especially when your wife is lots younger.Having to put a life long pardoner in a home because you can't handle any more. It might seem cruel but when a relationship no longer works foe both or just one. Things like altimeters is most common., and you need to move on with your life, after, you have done all you can with the resources available to you . I guess something as substance abuse is enough to drive the sober one to split, leave and find a new partner that does not have this problem. The same applies for those who have recovered, remember, marriage is a contract. Quite different than blood relative which you can never really get away from, even if you think so, you are only fooling yourself. In a marriage, the contract is broken when relationships change. Still it's hard to make such a decision after a good and or long marriage.
When the love is gone, it's time to move on, no matter how hard it hurts.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,751,136 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sebringlady1956 View Post
We have tried to help him in the past and he does absolutely nothing to help himself. Are we wrong to walk away. It is the hardest thing we probably have every done.
You are doing the right thing. Your brother-in-law is a sponger and a moocher. Unless you are rich and wish to support him for the rest of his life while he contributes nothing, there would be constant resentment and tension about his intrusion into your lives, both financial and otherwise. Let it go. You cannot save a person from himself and you cannot tell someone anything until they are ready to hear it. If he dies alone in the gutter, he has done that to himself - you are not responsible for it. Work hard to get over the guilt - it will be worth it. You will naturally feel sad about his self-imposed suffering, but you needn't feel guilty.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:52 AM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,502,154 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Things are a lot harder to ignore/walk away from if the dysfunctional person in question is one of your own kids....
Difficult, yes. But not impossible. The fundamental question is, "Would you tolerate such behavior towards you from anyone who was not related to you?" If your answer is a resounding "No!" then you have your answer.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:01 PM
 
190 posts, read 434,369 times
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Wow such a timely thread.

My cousin and I have always been close but her drug abuse frequently brings on angry tirades where she repeats offenses {real and imagined} done to her going back 25 years. For years I've had to listen to 3-hour phone calls spewing filthy language while obsessing about nearly everyone in her life. Ex-bosses, friends, co-workers, and family are constant targets of rage for this gal.

I seemed to be the only person with which my cousin didn't have a problem until last week when she finally put me in her crosshairs.

Out of the blue she told me she was "cutting all ties" with me because of all the terrible things I've done to hurt her. I demanded to know ONE time I'd offended her. She dredged up one incident from {I kid you not} 1995 when she said I "wasn't nice" to her.

I'd had enough! We had a brutally frank talk where I did most of the talking for a change. I said that getting stoned is destroying her mind, making her paranoid and driving away all who love her. She tried to interrupt but I ordered her to "shut up!" and she actually did shut up. I informed her I was "cutting ties" from this end and unless she takes real steps to get clean from the drugs our ties will remain cut.

I love this cousin of mine --she's 57 & I'm 61 -- but I've been enabling her insane behavior for far too long. The last discussion we had wasn't pleasant but it felt good to finally "take charge" and set a firm boundary.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,988,950 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Difficult, yes. But not impossible. The fundamental question is, "Would you tolerate such behavior towards you from anyone who was not related to you?" If your answer is a resounding "No!" then you have your answer.
Well, for a kid to be dysfunctional the behavior doesn't necessarily have to be "bad." They can be respectful and still have serious chronic problems like un/underemployment, bad health, or young kids in trouble, or whatever. If one's adult kid is respectful, it's even harder to ignore his/her plight and just walk away, from what I've seen.
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