Extended Family frustrations

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loving frustrated wife
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 12/10/2007 3:01 PM (GMT -7)   

In a nutshell, I have been somewhat trying to avoid my family for the last 6 months because I am tired of feeling like odd family out.  What I mean is that it is like they have a club, and me and mine, are not allowed to "really" be a part of it.  I have 3 sisters, two brothers (one of which has passed away), and a cousin who is like the 4th sister given that she is the only child of my mother's identical twin and we were raised all together.  Anyway, one sister did something to my extended family about 2 years ago and has NEVER apologized for it to the people she wronged, nor acknowledged that what she did was wrong even (she spent the evening insulting and treating my H 85 year old disabled aunt as if she was in her way and wouldn't move fast enough to suit her, and treated my H cousin [and my best friend who was in from England] with utter distain and yelled at her and called her a b**** to her face as if she were the most disgusting person - and she had done NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!  Not to mention calling my children brats and my oldest a piss-ant.)  So, after giving her every opportunity to make a mends to all, and telling her that it would sever our relationship, she opted for the sever because she never made it right.  And mind you, the whole thing was witnessed by the rest of the family and ALL told her she was wrong from what she had done and that she needed to apologize.  She has steadfastly refused.  SO, what is left is a brother who we ALL barely see, 2 sisters (one I used to be very close to), and our cousin-sister. 

 

So this last summer I put in a concerted effort to spend time with each of them.  Only, regardless of my efforts, could not manage to get any of us together.  But upon gathering as a universal family for this and that, would listen to how they all were getting together individually for the beach, amusement park, spending the day with the kids by the pool....etc.  But, never asked us to join them, never accepted any of my invitations to go do things...etc.  So, I finally decided to let go and stop trying.  So be it, they were not interested in me and mine being a part of them. 

 

Well, last night was our universal family gathering for Hanukah at my cousins house.  And once again, I walk away feeling rejected, excluded...etc.   I AM SO SICK OF THIS.  I went because I don't want my issues with my siblings to affect my kid’s relationship with their cousins.  They love their cousins so much.  But what I had to deal with was listening to my cousin tell me how she does not want my daughter to ever stay at her house again because she whines and was too much work, she has so much energy and doesn't stop talking (my daughter is 6 and idolizes her cousin who is 9), and she has stayed ONCE in her whole life (I should mention that other than my family....EVERYONE loves my kids...my daughter is amazing and not just because she is mine.  Or my older sister who is going on a cruise with her husband and complaining she had no place to have her son stay except with a step grandmother who lives 10 minutes from us because our mom was going on the cruise with her (BTW, he'll have NOTHING to do and be BORED silly - mind you) - it never occurred to her to even ask us to have him stay the weekend with us.  My older son would have LOVED time with his cousin (they are a year apart)....but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO that wasn't even a thought apparently to them.  Or my younger sister complaining she needs a sitter for the next two nights for HER son, and I have already offered if she ever needed the help we are here to help her....but again..... NOOOOOOOOOOO not a thought in her head about asking me.  These little blatant in your face shuns went on and on throughout the night with each one of them in one way or another, while I listened to how they each got together for this and that over the last 6 months.  I couldn't wait to get the heck out of there and then came home SO depressed and frustrated.  My mom watches all this go on and says they are all so ridiculous...it is so clear how the don't get who I really am and it is their loss.  They seem to have tolerance and space for each other, but not me and mine.  I am close with my mom - and if I am around them for any reason and my mom is not, all they do is rag on her.  They are nuts....I am not blind to her faults, but she is a wonderful loving supportive woman who we would all be lost without.  She has never done anything to not have our love and respect.  She does SO much for all of us.  Shame on them.  

 

AUGH....I HATE FAMILY GATHERINGS!  My H didn't come last night because I didn't want to have to subject him to this, so I told everyone when asked that he had to work and apologized that he couldn't make it.  I hate that I come home from what should be a loving time and feel pummeled by the blatant exclusion feeling I get from them all.  I would NEVER think to complain about their kids to them, never make them feel unwelcome.  It's SO sad to me.  I guess I will just have to accept being bummed about it for a day or two and then once again, I will just let it go and move on.  I'll lick my wounds and carry on in my life without them being a part of me.  SO sad really.  Thanks for listening all!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Nice to get it up and out.  LFW

Post Edited (loving frustrated wife) : 12/10/2007 4:27:00 PM (GMT-7)


sukay
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1432
   Posted 12/10/2007 6:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi LFW,
 
I've read your post and thought about it for a long time. The best solution that I can come up with is to confront every one of them on the spot, every time they say something that gets to you.....like when they talk about how they all went to the beach or amusement park....I would say...."Hey, what's this?..How come my family wasn't invited?" I'm serious...do it. Let them feel uncomfortable for a change and put on the spot for an answer.
 
When your cousin complains about how hard it is to deal with your daughter, you can say, "Wow, if it bother's you so much, I could have the kids spend the night at my house because my daughter loves getting together with her cousin."
 
And when your older sister said she had no where for her son to go but to the step grandmother's house, you could have interupted and said, "Oh let him stay at our home, my son would love it and I'm sure your son would rather be here too, why don't you ask him where he would prefer to stay?"
 
I'm just trying to stress that when these "little blatant in your face shuns" come up, confront them right away!
 
And by all means...when they start talking bad about your mother, let them know how you feel about your mom...the good that you see in her.
 
Well, this is just a thought. That's what I would strive to do in every situation when dealing with your family. Forget about all the things you had told them and start speaking at the moment as things ARE said.  
 
And the next time YOU plan something and they all have other things to do, say to them when they RSVP..."Ya know, every time I try to get us all together, it seems no one can get their schedules adjusted for us all to meet. We should really try to make the time for us to be together...afterall we are family." And I understand the whole thing about wanting to stay in touch for the kids sake. Totally understand that! But the family issue needs to be addressed to. So start being the person you are...speak you mind...not in a insult way but in a matter of fact way.
 
Well, this is one suggestion. I'm sure other's will be chiming in with their ideas too.
 
(((((HUGS TO YOU)))))). I hope every thing gets better.
 
~Sukay~
 
 


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 12/10/2007 7:21 PM (GMT -7)   
LFW:

First of all -- Happy Hanukkah. My dh brought home this book "The Latke that Wouldn't stop Screaming" by Lemony Snicket. It's a kids' book Very Cute. I highly recommend it.

I'm so sorry for all the frustrations. It seems your family has a culture of complaining and comptetition, which is certainly not unusual, sadly, and it sounds like you almost need to armor yourself up just to go -- even to the point of leaving your husband home. It is a shame that while you were all raised together you came away with such different sensibilities about what people's boundaries are. I like Sukay's suggestions. They seem wise to me. (She has a way of being gentle and yet to the point, don't you think?!) Also, think hard about what you value about these people, and ask yourself why you value gathering them all together this way like this. It doesn't sound like a healthy dynamic. If you like X about your cousin but she's obnoxious in big crowds or around children... you see my point?

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Bipolar II
It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness. -- William Shakespeare


loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 12/10/2007 10:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you both for your input. To address what you said Sukay, I have in the past confronted immediately. I have brought to their attention..."Gee, I wish you all would have included us, we would have loved to go to the beach with you, and then the cousins could be together too! or - Oh, that sounds like so much fun, the next time you all get together to go can you let us know too, we'd LOVE to join you." When caddy statements are made, I have spoken up and said..."I am sorry you found this or that so difficult, I know each of our children have their own issues and nuances that others might find challenging." And when help has been offered and blatantly overlooked etc. I have spoken up and reminded "Well, I'm available to help you out if you need it...that's what sisters are for!!!!" But I have done this for YEARS and nothing changes…EVER. I've stood up for my mom countless times...they still gripe. I should have stopped trying years ago when my cousin moved to England and before she left, I took the time and planned a special day for us to do something and made her feel special. I wanted her to know she would be missed. She told everyone how much it touched her that I had done this because no one else had. (I was also, besides her mom, the only one by the way who called her in England – and arranged for people I knew there to befriend her and show her around…she ended up rude to them.) So when she came back for a visit, I called her and tried to get together with her. But she never had time for me. She had time for everyone else who hadn’t done what I did, but not for me. When she moved back the following year, I offered to help them get re-settled…never got a returned phone call. I told her this hurt me, and I was given excuses for the behavior and an insincere “Oh, sorry.”

By the end of summer, I had just gotten fed up with it all after I resolved to finally move the relationships forward this summer and failed at it no matter what I did, or how many times I tried. And yet...I would listen to them banter about all their escapades together when the family as a whole collected towards the end of summer. It became SO blatant to me and I finally let go and accepted the relationship I want with my family will just never be there. It makes me very sad, but that is the reality. Since making the decision, it has become more and more obvious to me the last two times I have had to see them all. We opted out of Thanksgiving with them all for this exact reason. I didn't want to have to deal with it anymore than I would have to. I want my kids to be able to visit with their cousins and have fun, but I think I have got it down to 3 times a year now. Hanukah, Passover & maybe Yom Kippur, and that will be it. My kids do ask to see their cousins though, and I'll just have to say they are not available (even though they all get together over and over again…but better I say this than my kids feel the rejection from their aunts and uncles the way I do…don’t you think?). It makes it hard. We all live within 30 minutes of each other. But I don't want them to know about what I am dealing with….and heck, my kids aren’t being invited anyway. I have made these attempts for YEARS....I am just tired of it. They win...they don't have to see or know much about me and mine. Their loss, not mine. Like I said…it is sad, but I am SO done. I just don’t deserve to matter so little to these people. But I do. So, I get to accept what I can and move on. Thank you for the support and caring responses. LFW

sukay
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1432
   Posted 12/11/2007 7:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Good Morning LFW,
 
Gosh, what a sad, sad story! I can't believe how your own family treats you and your family. It sounds like you have gone beyond all that you can do. I would not want to socialize with them if they continued to treat me and my family like that. Me and my family don't deserve that type of treatment. I would just cut them out of my life. After all you have tried everything and they still continue to banter you! I wouldn't put myself through all of that,...for what?
 
If you could handle this a couple of times a year as you say, well then that is what you should do.
 
I had an incident with my brother one time of constantly just using me and having no respect for me. I kept every thing in until I was finally so upset with it, that I called him and told him I was coming over and needed to talk with him. Well, when I got there I started explaining how I felt he treated/took advantage of me and the next thing I know I let everything out! I started yelling at him and I told him how ignorant he was for every situation that he put me through and how it made me feel and what I had felt about him because of all of this! I ranted for a long time as he sat there, shocked, listening with nothing to say!
 
I finally felt that all my cards had been placed on the table and felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. At this point, I didn't care whether or not if he ever talked with me again.
 
But as it turned out, it helped. He changed his ways. Then I bought him a refrigerator magnet that had the old "Jim and Sue" on it from our kindergarten/1st grade reading books on it that said, "See Sue b#*ch,...B#*ch Sue, B#*ch !"  tongue
 
I would love to go off on your siblings too! But I can't see you resorting to my level! nono
 
I wish things were better for you & your family. I don't know what more I can say. (((BIG HUGS FOR YOU)))
~Sukay~
 
 


loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 12/11/2007 9:58 AM (GMT -7)   
I wish I could go off on them too. The only result would be that they would talk about me behind my back. It would accomplish nothing unfortunately. Plus, while collectively my family may see that I am a good and loving person, the issue is more that they simply don't want to necessarily spend time with me and mine outside of universal family gatherings. They think it must be okay to think (or know) that I am this good and loving person, and therefore that is enough. Therefore, why should I need more? See in the end, it will still end up on my plate...so what is the point. When growing up, my mother use to use this analogy that if you wanted a plant to grow and flourish, you needed to water it. She’d say the same was with relationships. If you don't care enough, you will give the plant the minimum water it needs and it will live, but not grow, it will just basically limp along always staying the same size or begin to thin out and barely hang on. If you don't give your relationships more care than that, and then don't be surprised by the result of a stagnant, un-meaningful relationship with those you behave this way to. So while my family would agree with that philosophy in general, they wouldn't recognize how this is what they have done to me and mine - and that would explain our lack of efforts in return anymore. That, I am sure, will only get talked about as some new "issue" must be happening to my clan...blah, blah, blah. They'll never look at what they may have done individually or collectively to prompt our distance from them. And my telling them as I said...will just be more chat for them to gnaw on negatively about us. Their plants have flourished with each other, mine has not.

Like I said...sad. But I am doing better today and on the cusp of letting go of it all. It does help to know it is dominantly really their loss, not mine. I just have to readjust my dream or desire with them. It helps to know this. HUGS...LFW

sukay
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1432
   Posted 12/11/2007 7:26 PM (GMT -7)   

BIG WARM HUG FOR YOU, LFW


~Sukay~
 
 


dutchie
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 12/13/2007 11:22 AM (GMT -7)   
LFW

Sorry to hear your story, but it is not a totally unfamiliar one. It sounds like you are the grown up in a room full of children. DON"T STOP BEING THE GROWN UP!! The point is, you would be losing alot. There is enough crap going on in the world around us...if we don't have a chance at maintaining family relationships, then what hope do we really have in this world.(and that is not directed at just you but your entire family) As FBF and I desperately want to be good examples to our girls, I know you want to be to your children as well. I know you are frustrated with your efforts not being acknowledged....but do not be the example to your kids that it is OK to give up on family. You would be doing them a huge dis-service by taking time away with their cousins. Some of my best memories growing up were times spent with my cousin.

FBF's family has gone through its share of family animosity. Everyone has plenty to say behind your back....sometimes right in front of you, and we have been guilty of not confronting as well, so as not to cause more controversy. In a nut shell, the drama in the past has been quite wild. However, keep plowing through the sh**. KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS!! At a family gathering, continue to confront oddball statements, continue to stick up for your mom, remind them that, though they may not like her ways now....the woman did raise them. Be respectful, be pleasant, but not a pushover, be the ADULT. Instead of concentrating on the rejection you feel from so and so.....visit with your neices/nephews, your mom. I know it is difficult, but you strike me as far to smart of a woman to let these ignorant people get the upper hand.

Eventually, one by one your family members are going to get tired of acting like children; they will need someone to look to for example and guidance. That should be you.

Happy Hanukkah.
Take care
Dutchie

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 12/13/2007 10:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Dutchie, I do hear what you are saying. My point to putting up with my siblings and cousin is so my kids can maintain a good relationship with their cousins. I have spent WAY too many years "killing them with kindness", making generous offers of help, giving love, encouragement and support, dropping everything in their hour of need to be there for them…only to then be continually ignored every other time. The only thing now is I am no longer going to put in any further effort, as it yields NO positive returns for me. Confronting them does not work; pointing things out does not work, and being kind and enthusiastic for them, about them, with them…does not work. They sadly really have no interest in me and mine, other than touching base at universal family functions and I am just not willing to fight that anymore.

I am not going anywhere, if any one of them decides to finally want a real relationship with me....I am here, ready - willing and waiting. But that desire will need to be initiated by them, and it will need to come about as a result of their efforts to make it happen. I am simply not putting out any further efforts to try and produce those results. I get I can not do it alone. It does take two people. SO, I will continue being close to mom (as she has always been a wonderful, loving, strong, supportive, giving example of a great mom). I will show up for the universal family functions at the three major gatherings, be gracious, smile and say hello. I’ll listen attentively when someone reaches out. But, I will no longer go into depth about information about me and mine. After so many years of it always coming back at me as criticism in one form or another...I am done. I have a wonderful (albeit not easy and occasional pain in the butt) husband, and amazing children; I do not need to listen to continual whispers, critiques, put downs about my oldest and his "issues" as if he is SO different from others. He is not in any way, shape or form, he has his BP and ADHD issues (as do THOUSANDS of others) and he’s fully regulated on meds and is a MAGNIFICENT young man who I am infinitely proud of (even if he is at the stage of being a teenager that makes me want to pinch his head off a lot!!!! – LOL). The point is, he is a great, bright and loving kid with a wonderful personality. Their criticisms are petty and their own kids behave the exact same way….so it is all about the pot calling the kettle black. And the same goes about my twins….they are the most wonderful, energetic and outgoing, and very special kids (and like MANY others…at times…can be listening challenged), but they don’t do anything any of the other kids don’t…they are typical kids…yet MINE…they critique, point out this and that, criticize…etc. I am DONE defending my children, my parenting, my husband, myself and our family with them. I am proud of the job we are doing as parents, and proud of the family my husband and I have built. In fact, thank god my kids have us as parents….because in the hands of any one of them….my poor kids wouldn’t have a CHANCE to really shine and grow into all the potential and splendor they possess…especially my oldest. Instead, his life would have been a total disaster!!!

Anyway, I am doing much better about this issue. It has really helped to be able to acknowledge my feelings and really know I have been heard. I am fine again for now. The next “adventure” of seeing them…I hope to be in a better place with it, armored and protected better than this last time. It felt a little brutal to have it so blatantly in my face again. I won’t be so taken off guard again. Thank you all so much for listening….HUGS….LFW

Post Edited (loving frustrated wife) : 12/14/2007 1:58:21 PM (GMT-7)

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