Suggestions for dealing with family generated stress?

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Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 12/6/2006 5:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all -
 
I'm new to this board and could really use your help.  I'm trying to come to grips with having anxiety - I went home for Thanskgiving and was only able to stay strong for the first 12 hours or so.  By stay strong I mean speak my mind without insulting anyone while being true to myself.  I have a tendency to fall into an automatic "must please everyone mode" when dealing with practically anyone, but especially when dealing with my mom, cause if I don't the first thing she'll do is lay a guilt trip on me, and then if I still don't comply she goes right for the jugular with something like "All I want is for our family traditions to be passed on." 
 
To explain, I am a 32 year old single female who has never married has no children and is not dating anyone right now.  (I'm attractive, slender, and smart, and I work in a male dominated field, but I don't feel comfortable dating guys I work with and I no longer do the bar scene, so it's kinda hard to met guys.)  It's been a huge point of contention with my mom, since as soon as I turned 16 she's been saying: "I want grandkids, when am I gonna get grandkids!"  She has it all planned out for me, she wants four red haired, green eyed little boys for me and 4 blonde haired, blued eyes little girls for my brother.  Supposedly to punish us for what terrible children we were.
 
I just can't take it anymore and I do not want to spend Christmas going through this again.  I mean by all other indicators I have a great life - I have a Master's degree, a great career in my field of choice, full benefits.  I have a wonderful apartment, a nice car, and a few good friends.  (I recently moved here, so I would like to find more people in the area to hang out with, I'm starting to reach out and join clubs and things, but I've also been very busy at work.)  It just seems that until I get married and have kids my life is pointless to them.  But, I don't see it that way, especially since when I do go home all I see is everyone else's unhappiness.  None of my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, or my parents are in what I would consider a "loving relationship".  To me, it seems as though they have all gotten to a point where they just tolerate each other.  And that is not something I am willing to compromise on, especially when we are considering the rest of my life.
 
I've been engaged twice, but neither worked out and now I'd much rather be alone than in a relationship that I don't want to be in.  Maybe I'm just picky or maybe I have really high standards, but I do believe there is someone out there for me, I just haven't found him yet. 
 
I didn't mean for this to get so long, but I guess I needed to vent more than anything. 
 
Thanks for listening and if anyone has any ideas of how to keep the anxiety at bay while dealing with stressful situations and still staying true to yourself without offending anyone I'm all ears!    
 
Thanks in advance!  tongue

shell67
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1268
   Posted 12/6/2006 5:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi sadsong, welcome!!! It takes alot to deal with family, it really does. Im not sure how to tell you to cope, as i tend to run away from my mother and sister, im the bad seed.......although im the one that has picked myself up and tried to make a better life, its hard cause my sis lives with my mom, and they are so close, and im so far.....but i do understand how you feel. You sound like someone a mother would be so so so proud of, you have done wonderful for yourself, so dont let anyone say any different. (I also understand how hard it is to be yourself with family without offending) I wish you the best of luck, and im sure someone will come along with great advice ;) hang in there, and keep us posted! hugs
shell
" Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now, in this instant of time. From this moment onward you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."
Eileen Caddy


Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 12/6/2006 6:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Shell -

Thanks so much for the very quick and kind response. It's greatly appreciated! I also tend to run away from my family, since as soon as I could I moved out and have never really looked back. It seems like I've lived entire lifetimes, since I've lived at home but for whatever reason they all seem to think that I'm still the same 16 year old girl. I mean that was 16 years ago and I've changed so much, but they don't seem to get that. They just complain about how difficult life is, but they are unwilling to do anything about it. UGH! Anyways, my next therapy session is tommorrow afternoon, so I'm sure I'll get some good insight and suggestions then too! Thanks again for listening!

nervymeg
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 12/6/2006 6:38 PM (GMT -6)   
I would suggest you get a stun-gun.  No just joking!!! I know what you mean about family pressures.  Fortunately my brother and sis have both had kids so the heat is off me.  I think, unfortunately the best thing to do is try and let it go.  Your mother probably isn't going to change and I admire that you want to stick to your values.  Perhaps you could just say "that's not a topic I care to discuss" and leave it at that.  Try not to let it bother you.  You know you're great and that's all that counts.  Stay strong!!!!

Dance like no-one's watching,
 
Love Thy Neighbour, just don't get caught!
 
NervyMeg


hopefulmigrainer
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 902
   Posted 12/6/2006 9:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi sadsong, I can relate! I didn't get married until I was 40. I was engaged several times but to the WRONG men. My ex-husband pulled the wool over my eyes and our marriage lasted only 4 months. My Mom even sang one of those really, really sappy songs about how I would be a Mother soon at my bridal shower. My ex and I planned to try for children right away. I felt really weird at the shower even because "what if I don't get pregnant?" My Mom wants the best for me but nearly everyone in my family is married and has children (the baby stages). I desperately wanted to find the right person and have children but I went to every birthing, babysat and listened to story and story about the babies. It didn't take long for every single interaction at family get togethers to be about babies. I call my family the "paparazzi." It's like 6 cameras taking 12 pictures of the same baby at the same time. I began to feel sad and invisible. I longed for conversation that didn't revolve around the babies. My Dad gave up on my a long time ago. When I was your age I went to the county fair with a boyfriend and I won the stuffed animal. Both my Dad and my StepMom told me that I should let the guy win the stuffed animal. My boyfriend didn't seem to mind. Anyway, they are very old fashioned and believe that you should get married and have kids. Well, like you have observed, my dysfunctional family with the perfect kodak moments started to crumble. The truth started to creep out. I think that they admire me in a strange way. I'm doing it on my own. My Sister could never be alone for 5minutes. She is on her 2nd marriage. Okay, enough about me (I do relate) I would suggest that you make a point of being excited about being single. Share interesting stories with them about your interesting life. Do you have a pet? I go on and on about my dog (on purpose) and when my step-sister said, Oh my gawd, a picture of your dog at a dog party, I said "I have looked a millions of pics of your babies and this is my baby! I wasn't angry. But WE have a right to be single. We are single and sensational. That is better than being married and miserable. Of course, I hope to marry again someday but it will never be because I am "supposed" to. It will be because I love him and we compliment each others already good lives. I say BRAVO to you. If you lived in Southern California you would be surrounded by singles. It's NORMAL to be in your thirties/forties and be single. Just placate them at the get togethers and then go home and be happy. If you are not happy then find some things that make you happy. MEN are just desserts. :)
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen."
 
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nervymeg
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 12/7/2006 12:00 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey I agree with hopeful.  I have to buy a gizillion presents for my siblings kids, but I make them buy presents for my cat in return!!!! It evens things out and makes them realise I'm ok without a husband and children. :-)
Dance like no-one's watching,
 
Love Thy Neighbour, just don't get caught!
 
NervyMeg


hopefulmigrainer
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 902
   Posted 12/7/2006 12:46 AM (GMT -6)   
That is so cute NervyMeg, I never thought of that! When they send me all of the kiddies "wish lists" I will send them my lil ones wish list too. LOL! A big bone for Sammy and some fresh lobster tail for Duke. :)
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen."
 
Please allow HealingWell to continue helping others by donating: http://www.healingwell.com/donate/


Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 12/7/2006 4:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Families do have to learn to butt out
If you are happy they need to know to let you be
I too am the " bad seed " but the only one to have amounted to anything and the only one looking after Mom til she passed away and now dad
I agree with you that you need not have to deal with this anymore ask them to please stop and tell tehm THIS is YOUR CHOICE
I wish you all the best and welcome to this forum .........

NM ..you are a hoot ......Thanks I needed that laugh
Lyn
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 One thing I know for sure is we have each other and in times of need no one could be better off IMO
 
 Never compromise your self nor your dignity...with that ...My God
 Family and Great Friends ........I have it All
 
        Lyn
 


Sadsong
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 344
   Posted 12/11/2006 11:04 AM (GMT -6)   
You all are great! Thanks so much for listening and sharing your advice! :) It's exactly what I needed. I guess it just gets really hard being surrounded by couples (married or otherwise) all the time and not having someone to share my day with. I mean, like I said earlier, I'd much rather be alone that in a realtionship that I don't want to be in, but to my family it seems like the only purpose in life is to get married and have kids. But, to me there seems like there should be all kinds of ways to spend your life rather than being forced into that one mold. I have a great job and I love to travel, so every opportunity I get - I explore someplace I've never been. I mean I make enough money and I get lots of time off, so why not, right? This summer I went to Alaska, next year I'm going to Germany. I mean if I had a family - I wouldn't be able to travel as much as I do. Plus, I just haven't met any really interesting, engaging, handsome men that I want to spend time with. There's a guy at work who fancies me, but I have absolutely no interest in him - complete DORK! But, I digress, maybe all I need is a support group for singles! :)

I really do need to figure out some quick witty comebacks (or mental tapes to play to myself before I interact with my family) when this subject does come up again, as I'm sure it will when I go home for Christmas. Or like Nevymeg and one of my bosses suggested, just let it slide right off of me when it does come up, since I can't change them, even though I would love to! :)

Thanks for the advice hopefulmigrainer - I actually don't have any pets - I'm terribly allergic to practically everything with hair, fur, or feathers and have just started taking shots. (But, some of my aunts and uncles bring their dogs to family gathers anyway, which always put both my father and me in agony!) I have just finished taking Salsa dance lessons, which were a riot- since there was this old guy in the class who cannot dance who took a very keen interest in me. It was rather humorous since he insisted on counting out every step out loud while sticking his butt way out in back of him and looking down at his feet!

The thing about "bragging about" what I am doing - which I don't really do THAT much of, is someone usually gets jealous and then needs to say something really hurtful and demeaning in order to make themselves feel good again. (After the fact, I can analyze the situation for what it is, but in the heat of the moment I always feel like "What did I do to deserve that?") I need to become more of a "participant observer", in which I can observe what is going on while being detached, but still interact in a meaningful way. But, it takes a lot of energy and disipline, since I tend to automatically fall into those "traps" that they've laid out for me.

Oh and another thing that I just thought of, it seems like my mom only wants me to get married, because SHE wants to have grandkids. It doesn't have anything to do with what I want. I mean, it's my body and my priorities that would need to be rearranged. Not to mention the fact that I'm not dating anyone right now. It seems awfully odd, that the pressure gets worse when I'm not dating anyone rather than when I am dating someone. Or perhaps, it's just easier to deal with when I am dating someone, since I expect it and I try to prepare him for it...
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