14 thoughts on “More Thoughts on Hurtful Family Relationships

  • November 4, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I have a sister that is toxic and she has whined to my family and now have them upset at me for having a relationship with my father (my sister does not). I stressed about this so much it made me very ill. I have multiple sclerosis and the stress caused me to go into relapses, attacks 4 times in last 10 months. I realise that I need to do something and if the rest of my family is going to succumb to her rantings and not speak to me for talkng to my father then I need to let them go.

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  • November 4, 2009 at 8:21 am

    I like the points you make, especially the overarching one that we do best when we balance our responsibility to ourselves with responsibility to family members.

    And if someone isn’t “doing” first for him/herself, then “doing” for another is not likely to be truly helpful.

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  • November 4, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I don’t know which hurts most: the uniquely painful abuse only adult children can dish out or a parent’s heart-rending sorrow of “what might have been.”

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  • November 4, 2009 at 10:53 am

    My father died from kidney complications about two years ago. Due to many factors, a complete lack of rapport, my own sever helath issues, the craving to speak my truth and be heard was frankly an impossible impediment to meeting on common ground. He was born, lived and would die within the patterns he used to survive his childhood abuse(severely narcissistic). Frankly ,there was no room for me to have any needs whatsoever. Accepting this made my choice to not visit him during his last days easier. It did not do away with whispers of guilt and wondering what if..that still come up. I find myself having to simply block all feelings off. The child inside is not capable of tolerating both the love and the rage simultaneously. I am hoping to have some mastery in this area of relationships. Not tolerating the intolerable, but tolerating the transitory moods which sometimes possess myself and others. Main act of mastery is showing my own self Mercy, and avoiding all narcissists, once identified. Mercy is all I can wish for my dad wherever he is, he is no more energetically accessible in death than he was in life! Learning how not to love is worth this life of mine.

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  • November 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Anapurna and others…one way of overcoming the sadness and pain and point of view that becomes locked in by those traumatic memories & experiences is EMDR. You can greatly speed up your progress through using it, and I have DRAMATICALLY changed my emotional landscape through this experience. Find a good practitioner that you connect with and have confidence in, and who is certified to perform it. Be sure you connect with your therapist or get a different one. I only wish I had done it sooner, as I am now 55. It’s not easy or free, but what a change. I am married to a psychologist (someone else was my therapist!) so I can tell you I know alot about therapy in general. My change has been profound, emotionally, physically.

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  • November 4, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Thanks for the supportive comment and suggestion. The last part of my note could be misconstrued to sound as if I am walled off from all feelings and love. What I meant to say is that I am identifying toxic love for what it is and getting away much faster than in the past.I learned I am better off without any wishful thinking. “How NOT to love”– in unhealthy ways!!

    I used to have a therapist who did EMDR technique, it is indeed miraculous.Then when I went on Medicare at 52, we got split apart as her license is LCSW, and the Fed program in CA will only cover MFCC. Despite the parallel qualifications. I lost her after seven years of working together and had to start over. I have gone thru 3 of the four therapists in the available program and finally feel I have a reliable compassionate witness. No EMDR unfortunately. If I could manage the costs to heal, especially with the incredible selection of modalities in my area, I am sure I would be in much better shape on all levels. Carrying on in the low, (to nonexistent), levels of services, while being advocating and learning how to navigate the system and helping others to do same, is definitely an exercise in empowerment!!

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  • November 11, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I am so happy to have found some explanation for the way I have been treated by my family my entire life. I am truly going to try and set some new strong boundaries. I am 34 years old and tired of feeling insignificant. Here’s to a new beginning. Wish me luck!

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  • November 16, 2009 at 3:48 am

    You are wonderful thank you for your input and help.Ted Walner

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  • January 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    My older sister and I live in a family where people enjoy pitting one against another. She and I seem to be the punching bags — probably because we’ve allowed ourselves to be used as such. We have a sister who lives out of state that can stir up more problems being almost 3,000 miles away than 100 people who live within a mile of each other. While I believe she has severe mental health issues (she’s like our mother but more effective in finding ways to pull people apart — my mom and niece just go along with her because of their own unhappiness). My sister does everything she can to ensure some people are excluded from family functions. I believe this is because she lives far away and feels disconnected herself. But she decided to move away a long time ago. And while she has the money and means to travel in, she chose not to attend family holidays for so many years. I’m younger than she is and she has always been cruel to me – I remember this even when we were children. She was constantly putting me down and tried to emotionally abuse me. But looking at old family photos recently, I noticed that she never smiled in them. She appeared to have picked up my mother’s habits like that. Maybe she was unhappy even then and was resentful that I was a happy-go-lucky child (influenced in great part by my godmother who spent a lot of time with me growing up). But even at age 51,I feel wounded at how I’ve been treated when all I’ve tried to do it build relationships with the hurtful people. I think my other sister and I need to command respect by establishing the boundaries mentioned in this article. But I fear that doing that will result in ALL ties cut and that would be such a shame. These people will act nice to someone’s face and then put them down and talk negatively about them behind their backs. I just don’t get it. Sometimes I just wish I could “adopt” a new family.

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  • March 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I live far away from most of my extended family, and 12 minutes away from my younger brother. He has always mocked me, put me down, and I would take breaks of seeing him, but, ultimately, breaking down and initiating contact again.
    I have sought help for anxiety and depression, and I know he is in a lot of emotional pain. I am in a much higher level income bracket than him, and I am aware that he is jealous of my life. I am married with 3 wonderful kids, and he has no children. However, last night, during one of our “arguments”, he told me that I probably wouldn’t live to age 70. (I am going to be 50 this month.) It hurt me so much, I am not sure I will ever be able to talk to him or see him ever again. How do you forgive that?
    I have a lot of weight to lose, and told him that I am making some healthy choices. He mocked me, and it hurt so much. My extended family supports me behind his back, but when we are all together, no one comes to my support.
    He is my parents’ favorite. Not a surprise, right?
    I echo an earlier comment, “Sometimes I just wish I could adopt a new family”.
    I used to hear the comment, “Friends you pick, family you’re stuck with”.

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    • March 5, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      The reasons why we have been born into a family is precisely that. To repair that which we have going between each other. We are abused, made to shut up, made to listen to each other in all nonsense because you chose to be there as family.

      The only way to repair anything in this world is to expect respect. The only way for that is to show respect first. Ask yourself, are you providing respect for those who abuse you? The only reason why they abuse you is because you lack respect.

      The underlying cause of any problems is usually mis-understandings between two people. When the mis-understandings are not repaired in time, they/it goes on to becoming one of lifes long fight against misery.

      You might think that your problems are not of your doing because the other party seems to be making all the wars towards you. I bet you that somewhere along in your past you must have have either directly or indirectly greatly hurt them.
      Come today, you’ve probably have totally forgotten about the incidence.

      It is your job now to open up and forgive them and ask for forgiveness for whatever you have done said or did to them. Only after this can you move along in your life. This will also cause them to stop abusing back because your apology would give them no further ammunition to fire back at you.

      By sitting down and accepting what has been done and to find a solution to your future existence together then the only way is to accept the fault and apologize. I am sure all humans will also come to realization that it was a joint problem and they too had reason and were at fault too.

      My message in message goes to all who have problems with family.

      No one is prefect! Not even you next to your kin, friend or otherwise. We evolve to become better humans. So be the better human

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  • October 30, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    The last few years of my life have been quite agonizing ! My siblings decided that they wanted to be HATEFUL ! I always knew that their was somthing was wrong. They never seemed to be happy about anything . They always were fighting with someone or kicking people from their lives. Why didn’t I think me and my family would be next. I finally excepted that this is how they are and will continue to be. I just gave up and stopped speaking if I see them out. I never knew what emotion they would pull out of their hat next. I’t is so hard to trust someone again after intense verbal abuse. My husbands sister is the very same way. My son has nobody to call aunt or uncle and no cousins to play with anymore because of this. I still get hurt but realize they are hanging on to the past and living their lives in hate. I am not the only person who they have decided to estrange from their lives. As I see things , they are going to be old and very lonely !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • October 9, 2015 at 4:12 am

    Hi I have an elder brother who is 5 years older to me. We were very close thought we used to fight and argue a lot, till he got married. He confessed to me before his marriage that his fiancé is jealous of my beauty and education and that she compares herself with me for everything and fights with him. He also told me he wanted to break his engagement with her as he thinks she will separate him from me. This was 15 days before his marriage and I convinced him thinking she is just insecure as I had been living in the states for 5 years and she lived in India. However, things got complicated after his marriage and he started blaming me subtly for things that were going on in his life and he stopped confining with me. I felt that was right as he has his own family now and that he shouldn’t be talking to me about it. He also started disrespecting me everytime we had conversations and I felt he would snap at me or hang up anytime I didn’t agree with him. He’s had a lot of failed relationships and I knew about them but never bring it up. He started treating me poorly for the 1 relationship I had 4 years ago , judging me and making me feel worthless. I tried not to talk to him but gave in 3 times. His wife never called me or my mom and never tried to maintain/build relationships. My brother calls and fights with my old parents saying they don’t like his wife, when my mom calls her every 10 days in the efforts of maintaining basic relationship! She has never initiated anything with my mom. A few days ago one of my cousin started blaming me for his almost failed marriage because I listening to his wife when she vented about him and his multiple affairs. My brother calls me and says it’s my fault without even listening to what I had to say! I endured a lot of pain over the years caused by him but I couldn’t take it this time! I msged him and told him that I want to be among people who love and support me and that I dint get any of it from him.. He didn’t bother responding to it and has been very cocky to my mom, yelling at them, disrespecting and blaming them for his life. I have asked my mom to stay away from him but she is not able to. Can you help me here!!

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  • January 29, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    It’s interesting, both of my parents experienced abuse in different ways: My mother had an alcoholic abusive father. My father had an overbearing mother & a detached stoic father. As a result, there was a lot of fighting between my parents growing up. As a result, I had 2 younger sisters both who would gang up on me quite regularly & the middle one I was always getting into physical altercations with, because she would always throw the first hit. She was always violent towards me. My parents & grandparents (dad’s side) would always compare mostly me & my middle sister. As a result, the middle sister would be a people pleaser constantly, emulated my grandma & just as materialistic as her. I on the other hand, became notoriously known as the black sheep in my family because I am “awake” to all of it. And of course, the bullying and criticisms still continue on to this day (mostly from the few times I speak with my sister & grandmother). It makes me sad, because I wish I had the closeness with my family, but the sad reality is, since all are stuck in their stunted lives, they’ll never do what they need to do to change from being completely toxic.

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