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Old 08-03-2011, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Florida
2,291 posts, read 4,948,319 times
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I like everyone else have family, however, they are only a part ot my life, they are not the all. I have friends and many activities that share equally with my family time. If I spent all my time trying to solve all my families issues I would not have any time left to live my life...on my terms.

As I mentioned before you may want to consider reading "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:18 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,860,713 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dollydo View Post
I like everyone else have family, however, they are only a part ot my life, they are not the all. I have friends and many activities that share equally with my family time. If I spent all my time trying to solve all my families issues I would not have any time left to live my life...on my terms.

As I mentioned before you may want to consider reading "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie.
I've read it. Some good points, but very simplistic and not helpful in terms of specifics. Hard to "let go" when you have committed to old ones or young ones . . .
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:47 AM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,492,863 times
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Friends you choose. Family you have. The latter is always a crap-shoot and a roll of the dice. With children you do your best to instill traits and values you prize but especially now, by the time they're tweens they spend more time with and are more influenced by their peers and electronic wizardry than their parents and nuclear family.

With seven children between us and nine grandchildren, and a 10th due next month, it would be all too easy to have our lives totally dictated by the sheer numbers. We patently refuse to do that. We're loving and supportive, not necessarily financially, but our lives do not rotate around them.

For some, the relationships with one or several family and extended family members are unsatisfactory, bordering on or surpassing harmful and hurtful. Long ago we both learned that life is too short to spend time with and on toxic people and associations - any of them.

Richard Bach had it right when he wrote in his book, Illusions, "The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof."
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Connecticut is my adopted home.
2,277 posts, read 3,080,661 times
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Family, sigh. You love them but sometimes....

For my husband, he comes from a family of Vulcans. They never get together (haven't seen his brother in 20 years, sister in 15) and when they do, it's perfunctory interaction at best. The times that we did see them, we visited them. It hurts my husband's feelings to have his family so disinterested, being a tender person, but we have come to believe that sadly, it is what it is. His will never be a Hallmark card kind of family.

My family? Big, charismatic, enmeshed in many ways, still psychically smarting over generational dysfunctions and secrets that have left their marks on succeeding generations. To meet us we seem outgoing, rowdy, emotive, the ideal Hallmark card family but there are feuds, siblings that haven't spoken on my mom's side of the family, hurts that are buried unaddressed and the rigid requirement to put on a smiling face and act the part of the happy family when together.

So what to do?

"...and we're "insulated" by some 2,000 miles of distance..."

This was my first response when I freed myself from the unruly and none too healthy nest. I had to have the distance (over 3000 miles) to reduce demands on me and to help ease daily friction because I was never particularly good at ignoring the 2000 pound gorilla that normally was lurking about in the room. Being the turd in the punchbowl too many times, I had to use distance and time to disengage.

Now being older and having spent some time addressing the family issues with professional counselors on and off (usually after a major funeral) I have reached a place where, like my husband's family, I believe it is what it is. Certain family members will never (barring a miracle) have insight into their behaviors or realize their effects on others, or will never rise above self interest as their primary motivation or more benignly, will never be willing or able to look at the family system or it's individual members clearly and honestly preferring to go along to get along. It is what it is and I accept that my family is one of those things, like the serenity prayer goes, that I cannot change.

And after all those earlier years of either head butting, struggling to understand, trying to helpfully intervene or escaping the conflicts, I now have no need to do any of those things. I accept my family for what it is, but I'm also somewhat of an outsider, an unknown quantity that is not heavily invested emotionally in day to day interactions with them. I'm more like an in-law than a sibling or daughter. Likely my family will never really know me and surprisingly it's okay.

I will not be moving back to the old homestead area (I don't need exposure to aggravation, life offers enough as it is) but I feel okay about easing up on the distance now that we are retired. Ironically when the need arose recently, I was able to be there for several months to help out with an emergency without being involved in any conflict. It was rather pleasant and eye opening (a family secret came out that was a key piece of the puzzle) in a way that allowed me to release my need and wish that they care for me in return. I love my family and have enormous levels of compassion for even the worst perpetrators, but I won't allow myself nor do I need to be sucked into the madness again to belong.

Like the others have been saying, it's about setting boundaries and limitations. I had to set physical boundaries of distance at first and still believe some distance to be necessary for long term peace of mind. Now I also have internal boundaries set. For shorter term, the long visits, holidays and the like, I accept who my family members are with their various foibles and while physically present, I'm not emotionally "available" to get hooked in like I once was. This act of letting go has positively affected other areas of my life as well.

"Hard to "let go" when you have committed to old ones or young ones . . ."

The letting go is an internal process that manifests itself in a sense of acceptance and peace and that does affect external acts without leading to neglect. For example, you will no longer feel compelled to give resources to someone that fully has the capability to make their own way but for various reasons won't. Or you won't feel the need to intervene for a positive outcome in feuds between two people that does not directly involve you. You will certainly pitch in when genuine need dictates, but not out of the desire to be a hero, to be beloved, to be the saint or the martyr. Nor will you be the scapegoat.

If you relish or can't escape any of these or other enmeshed family roles, you will remain attached to the trauma and the drama inherent in them. To remain in the whirlwind is a choice that many (if not most) make, so if that is your choice, fine, but don't be too surprised if people have no patience for verbalizations about how your family takes advantage of or uses you without caring for you in return. It comes with the territory.

I hope you find what you are looking for, but I don't think that our personal stories will help you very much. I'd suggest a good sounding board. Someone clear eyed and realistic that will be able to help you see things from another perspective. If you have to pay for that service, counseling has been worth every penny I've spent to help me sort out my family issues. Good luck to you.

Last edited by AK-Cathy; 08-04-2011 at 07:29 AM..
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,093 posts, read 72,525,560 times
Reputation: 27566
Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
I've read it. Some good points, but very simplistic and not helpful in terms of specifics. Hard to "let go" when you have committed to old ones or young ones . . .
It may be hard to let go because you don't want to ?
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:25 AM
 
Location: State of Superior
8,628 posts, read 13,894,284 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
I just let it be known that I am now retired and poor. I can no longer help. Then they started leaving me alone! And it's great!
Makes a lot of sense......you play, you pay , ...or , you are at the end of the family tree, like me, and one double cousin.I have a son that I never got to know, and rarely even know where he is, or what kind of life he lives, ( he is 50 now, still on drugs I guess).... so , for me , at 70, its which one of us dies first, and , whats left to live on...that's it.,( wife still works and is 8 years younger so., I play, wish I was still working. Retirement without proper funding is hell on earth. I need to become gainfully employed again, maybe I will work on my writing, and another book....
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:04 AM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,860,713 times
Reputation: 8956
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Friends you choose. Family you have. The latter is always a crap-shoot and a roll of the dice. With children you do your best to instill traits and values you prize but especially now, by the time they're tweens they spend more time with and are more influenced by their peers and electronic wizardry than their parents and nuclear family.

With seven children between us and nine grandchildren, and a 10th due next month, it would be all too easy to have our lives totally dictated by the sheer numbers. We patently refuse to do that. We're loving and supportive, not necessarily financially, but our lives do not rotate around them.

For some, the relationships with one or several family and extended family members are unsatisfactory, bordering on or surpassing harmful and hurtful. Long ago we both learned that life is too short to spend time with and on toxic people and associations - any of them.

Richard Bach had it right when he wrote in his book, Illusions, "The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof."
This is beautiful. thank you. I read the book, but can't ever remember particular phrases.

I guess I have not found my "spiritual family" yet. Hope I do. Part of that may be due to being too involved with my birth family and work . . . part of it is due to my more introverted nature . . .part of it is "luck of the draw." I am very picky about who I spend my time with - I have pretty high standards in the friend arena . . . I have let go of a ton of friends that I have outgrown over my life.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:03 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,492,863 times
Reputation: 29076
Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
This is beautiful. thank you. I read the book, but can't ever remember particular phrases.

I guess I have not found my "spiritual family" yet. Hope I do. Part of that may be due to being too involved with my birth family and work . . . part of it is due to my more introverted nature . . .part of it is "luck of the draw." I am very picky about who I spend my time with - I have pretty high standards in the friend arena . . . I have let go of a ton of friends that I have outgrown over my life.
I escaped that by only having a lot of acquaintances, very few "friends."

It's a childhood thing. I was raised in the military and put in a lot of years myself. Therefore, there was constant coming and going. I have been cursed with encyclopedic recall going back to about age three. From that time, on, I would have clear memory of "friends" at various duty stations only to find that when our families were stationed together again, they couldn't remember having been co-located in the past. For me, that was rather hurtful. I'd be excited to see them again, they were .

At an older age, my first real love sent me a Dear John letter while I was gone in my own military service and headed to combat and my best friend turned on me (and others, including his wife). Those were all defining moments so I have always been wary of getting to close, or permitting others to. Count among the disappointments a wife of 25 years and I am quite guarded.

But it works for me!
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:27 PM
 
Location: State of Superior
8,628 posts, read 13,894,284 times
Reputation: 2770
For the most part , friends are for the moment, the convenience and shared hobbies , etc. relatives are like fish, after three days they start to smell. That's about it.... I don't have to worry about any or the other, Have out lived most all relatives, and old friends are too far away , they too have moved on.
That's the way life goes for more of us than we would like to admit.... After all it was the ride , the Thats what kept us all ongoing that gave us our best memories. Getting there was always a letdown, Leaving us to want a little more, the American way through life.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:58 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,860,713 times
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I love the idea of kindred spirits . . . people who "get" you - who you can laugh with, be yourself with, and whom you can TRUST. It is surprising to me that very few people are actually trustworthy. I think I am a very good friend, but maybe I am in denial and am crappy like most everyone else!
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