U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Retirement
 [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 08-03-2011, 01:55 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
12,764 posts, read 7,826,042 times
Reputation: 13083

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
It's a little difficult because when anyone in the family is acting up, it affects the entire group and affects the dynamic of communication, holidays, etc. Plus, we all love these people and care about them. I don't see them as "just toxic."

I do agree boundaries need to be set.

I struggle because I have beliefs that family "should" help each other - and so I do extend that offer because it is a core value. But there are limits.

I just wondered what other peoples experiences are . . . how they manage in this phase of their lives to handle problematic or difficult relationships so that they are not adversely affected.
I am getting close to retirement. I also always feel that I should help family members when they need it. Fortunately, I have cured myself of that 'affliction'. When you are the only one doing the helping, it's time to pull back.

I was taken for $25,000 by one of my daughters and her husband and that was the last straw. Now, if a family member comes to me with their current sob story, I listen and express my concern ('oh, I'm sorry to hear about that'...'that's too bad'...etc.) BUT I DO NOT offer any type of assistance.

Generally they will whine for a while, hoping you will break down and offer assistance without them having to actually ASK (how demeaning!) LOL.

Eventually, they go away, and if you listened to their stories and showed some empathy, they will not tend to 'blame' you for not helping them.

Good Luck
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 08-03-2011, 02:02 PM
 
12,700 posts, read 14,081,338 times
Reputation: 34805
We need to extend the same courtesy to abominable personal relationships as we do to suffering pets: put them to sleep.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-03-2011, 03:02 PM
 
3,752 posts, read 9,605,753 times
Reputation: 7044
So many of the things we can say are pretty standard:

You cannot change anyone else or live their lives. You can only change your response and how you choose to act on your response.

You are the one responsible for your life and the decisions you make. It NEVER helps to look back with any regret. Just learn from your decisions.

No family is perfect. My elderly mother in law is driving us crazy with irrational decisions but she is an adult and has to live with her choices. Even though my 87 year old father who just married a 45 year old, I just have to let him live his life and live with his choices.

You need to establish some boundaries for those areas causing you stress and ensure, however hard, that others respect your boundaries. Note that even the adults will constantly test these boundaries and your resolve.

Only you can make these changes.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-03-2011, 03:31 PM
Status: "Be yourself. What's the alternative?" (set 20 days ago)
 
8,696 posts, read 10,845,026 times
Reputation: 12754
When my husband retired, we began the "two state rule." To always be 2 states away from dysfunctional family members. It worked so great that we moved again, 8-9 states away just to be "sure". Now that most of the loonies are gone we're trying to move back to our original home state.

But, really--no one can drive you crazy without your consent. It's an inside job.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-03-2011, 05:35 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,858,512 times
Reputation: 8956
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fox Terrier View Post
I am getting close to retirement. I also always feel that I should help family members when they need it. Fortunately, I have cured myself of that 'affliction'. When you are the only one doing the helping, it's time to pull back.

I was taken for $25,000 by one of my daughters and her husband and that was the last straw. Now, if a family member comes to me with their current sob story, I listen and express my concern ('oh, I'm sorry to hear about that'...'that's too bad'...etc.) BUT I DO NOT offer any type of assistance.

Generally they will whine for a while, hoping you will break down and offer assistance without them having to actually ASK (how demeaning!) LOL.

Eventually, they go away, and if you listened to their stories and showed some empathy, they will not tend to 'blame' you for not helping them.

Good Luck
Excellent. Thank you for sharing!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-03-2011, 05:46 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,858,512 times
Reputation: 8956
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix lady View Post
When my husband retired, we began the "two state rule." To always be 2 states away from dysfunctional family members. It worked so great that we moved again, 8-9 states away just to be "sure". Now that most of the loonies are gone we're trying to move back to our original home state.

But, really--no one can drive you crazy without your consent. It's an inside job.
Brilliant on the moving tactic.

For families who live in the same area it can be challenging, re: get-togethers, etc.

Yes, our reactions are up to us.

But my particular life is not so black-and-white, and neither are my values (i.e., I don't see people as purely "good" or "bad." I realize people go through phases.

So far the tips have been:

- Cut off all contact
- Move
- Be empathetic but don't offer anything
- Other? (I may have forgotten some of the earlier suggestions . . . I am getting old, you know!)

It is not easy for some people to cut off some other people . . . and it is not necessarily pathological to want to stay connected to family . . . it's all in the values, temperment, the particular behaviors, etc. There are many variables.

Sometimes you might have a value to take care of an elderly relative or a very young one, and it might not be easy . . .it could be stressful . . . some people don't just walk away from the difficult stuff . . .some are more committed - and that could be a good thing, or it could be overdone.

I know I have done more than my share, but I did it because it was a value that I thought was the "right" thing to do, after much consideration.

The issue of regret is complicated for me, because I have to frame things in a way that makes me not feel it was all a huge waste of time or I will become despondent. So, for my own mental health, I reframe to put myself back in charge, as opposed to being in the role of victim.

I know there are people "out there" right now on this board who are having problems with challenging relatives. Maybe they are too private to post the problems, maybe they are too busy dealing with chaos, maybe they have no advice to give other than "cut them out of your life," maybe, who knows?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-03-2011, 06:50 PM
 
Location: delaware
688 posts, read 864,549 times
Reputation: 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
Brilliant on the moving tactic.

For families who live in the same area it can be challenging, re: get-togethers, etc.

Yes, our reactions are up to us.

But my particular life is not so black-and-white, and neither are my values (i.e., I don't see people as purely "good" or "bad." I realize people go through phases.

So far the tips have been:

- Cut off all contact
- Move
- Be empathetic but don't offer anything
- Other? (I may have forgotten some of the earlier suggestions . . . I am getting old, you know!)

It is not easy for some people to cut off some other people . . . and it is not necessarily pathological to want to stay connected to family . . . it's all in the values, temperment, the particular behaviors, etc. There are many variables.

Sometimes you might have a value to take care of an elderly relative or a very young one, and it might not be easy . . .it could be stressful . . . some people don't just walk away from the difficult stuff . . .some are more committed - and that could be a good thing, or it could be overdone.

I know I have done more than my share, but I did it because it was a value that I thought was the "right" thing to do, after much consideration.

The issue of regret is complicated for me, because I have to frame things in a way that makes me not feel it was all a huge waste of time or I will become despondent. So, for my own mental health, I reframe to put myself back in charge, as opposed to being in the role of victim.

I know there are people "out there" right now on this board who are having problems with challenging relatives. Maybe they are too private to post the problems, maybe they are too busy dealing with chaos, maybe they have no advice to give other than "cut them out of your life," maybe, who knows?



you seem to be taking the defensive in all of your posts, and as others have suggested it is apparently because you are not receiving the answers you want to hear. it may not be pathological to want to stay connected to family but if the dysfunction is causing this much stress and unhappiness in your life it certainly is, at the very least, unhealthy. in my opnion, after extending yourself in every way possible, being"committed" as you describe it is really allowing yourself to be a victim over and over again.
my husband's family was always difficult to deal with , generally takers and never givers, socially inept, rude, and self involved. after the first few years of marriage when we tried to have holidays with them, include them in social gatherings,etc, and they seemed unresponsive in every way,never extending themselves in social situations, and generally making it uncomfortable for others to be around them, we severely curtailed the contacts. we never cut them out of our life but we certainly developed a more expanded definition of family. family does not have to be limited to our "blood relatives" and in many cases, certainly ours, our friends became our family in a much more meaningful way than if we had continued trying to make something work that was obviously not workable. we maintained a limited contact with family, helped them financially on occasion, got together with them infrequently, when, frankly, it couldn't be prevented, but our most meaningful relationships were with those not related to us.
i feel you might try widening your world to include others you select and with whom you may enjoy spending time; give yourself some breathing room apart from family, at least for a while. then you might have a different perspective on your situation and be able to decide how you want to proceed.

catsy girl
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-03-2011, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Florida
4,365 posts, read 3,702,696 times
Reputation: 4110
The answer is easy, but doing it is hard. You have to stop helping your family.

You might also consider a large over 55 community that has a lot of activities. The reason is to find a lot of people with similar interest and be able to make new friends.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-03-2011, 07:09 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,858,512 times
Reputation: 8956
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsy girl View Post
you seem to be taking the defensive in all of your posts, and as others have suggested it is apparently because you are not receiving the answers you want to hear. it may not be pathological to want to stay connected to family but if the dysfunction is causing this much stress and unhappiness in your life it certainly is, at the very least, unhealthy. in my opnion, after extending yourself in every way possible, being"committed" as you describe it is really allowing yourself to be a victim over and over again.
my husband's family was always difficult to deal with , generally takers and never givers, socially inept, rude, and self involved. after the first few years of marriage when we tried to have holidays with them, include them in social gatherings,etc, and they seemed unresponsive in every way,never extending themselves in social situations, and generally making it uncomfortable for others to be around them, we severely curtailed the contacts. we never cut them out of our life but we certainly developed a more expanded definition of family. family does not have to be limited to our "blood relatives" and in many cases, certainly ours, our friends became our family in a much more meaningful way than if we had continued trying to make something work that was obviously not workable. we maintained a limited contact with family, helped them financially on occasion, got together with them infrequently, when, frankly, it couldn't be prevented, but our most meaningful relationships were with those not related to us.
i feel you might try widening your world to include others you select and with whom you may enjoy spending time; give yourself some breathing room apart from family, at least for a while. then you might have a different perspective on your situation and be able to decide how you want to proceed.

catsy girl
Very good feedback. Any defensiveness is related to the issue of pathologizing behavior that society might want to put into a nice, neat little box, but that might be more complex. Maybe there are spiritual reasons for doing "x" - that is highly personal . . .

I will have to go back and read my first post. I did not intend to "ask for advice" on my particular situation (of which I have said the minimum, so there is no way anyone could accurately judge it) - I really wanted to hear about other people's experiences . . . people who have felt challenged and how it was for them.

There seems to be either a lack of such people or a reticence for people to talk about their own issues - it's much easier to take other people's "inventory" and give other people advice . . .

Still waiting for more personal stories . . .
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-03-2011, 07:11 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,858,512 times
Reputation: 8956
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjm1cc View Post
The answer is easy, but doing it is hard. You have to stop helping your family.

You might also consider a large over 55 community that has a lot of activities. The reason is to find a lot of people with similar interest and be able to make new friends.

Please tell me about your own challenges in this area. Thank you.
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 > Retirement
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