4 thoughts on “A Family in Denial – It’s All Pretend

  • June 5, 2019 at 7:33 am

    Just decided to end relations with family due to the dysfunction and the EXACT thing you describe is part of it. I should have done this at least 8 years ago. I told them as Christmas neared last year that I wanted to stay home alone to think about what to do because it had been a bad year. I didn’t tell them it was partly due to their actions and partly due to the dishonesty of not speaking openly about the problems. Their actions spoke volumes about how much they did not want me around and now they don’t need to live a lie. They have never written or called since and neither have I. When they hugged me and said ‘love you’, I felt as if they were stabbing me in the back. We also had a death in the family last year and it became excruciatingly clear I was omitted, left to grieve alone…I could no longer ignore what I had been making excuses for any longer. I feel ya!

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  • June 5, 2019 at 7:49 am

    Great read. Denial AND pretending have kept me intact but that is how I was raised—- I have a room full of academy awards!!!!
    My children feel one should say whatever they are thinking no matter how hurtful and MEAN therefore it has resulted in estrangement.
    I am worn out!

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  • June 5, 2019 at 9:57 am

    It is easy to make comments which while seeming relevant to ourselves, do not fit in with other’s ideas, or even elicit a response. We need to ask simple non-threatening but relevant questions which may draw people into the subject which no one wants to talk about. This reluctance to breach a subject may be from fear of being contradicted or being made to look foolish about things they haven’t even felt the need to think about or to share with others. This state may have existed for years, or generations in families. These responses may create the opportunity to introduce tiny aspects of the things individuals may feel, but would not share. With growing confidence, the need to be heard will grow with the desire to state primitive or embryonic ideas, and with luck, this may even lead to a conversation and even to consensus. But we have to be careful not to utter judgements on the embryonic ideas starting to formulate in other’s minds, because this will lead to the loss of confidence to expand ideas as they grow and are gaining momentum. We have to be careful not to make our own broad controversial statements, until others are truly involved and defending their views with confidence. We have to be trusted.
    The one objective is to seek involvement, not enunciate our own views. Statements like “thank you for sharing that with me.” Or ” I find your views interesting and challenging ” Or ” You have given me a new perspective” Or “I think I will have to change my opinion” will encourage confidence and further contributions because they are not being judged, or more importantly, they don’t feel judged. They feel listened to and important and confident.

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  • June 5, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    I have been in this situation with my birth family. Pretending everything was ok and no communication about ‘anything meaningful’ was the norm. Fortunately my husband and my sons and I have an open, honest and caring environment where we can support each other – enjoying the good times and being there for each other in the difficult times.

    As my Dad aged we became very close – he and I became the only ones in our original family who communicated fondly. Nearing death from heart failure he came 350 miles to be cared for in our loving and caring home. After his death my brother and sister fell out with me and have stopped communicating even politely. We are no contact. I grieved the death of my Dad and the loss of siblings. It was hard until after 2 years I realised that I didn’t want to be in a false relationship with them or anyone. I now surround myself with honest, down to earth people and feel that I have gained a new family of people who care for me and I care for them.

    I am in my sixties and my siblings are older. It’s a sad thing but I don’t waste energy over them any more.

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