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Toxic family member finding it hard to stay away.

(10 Posts)
Molotov Tue 04-Nov-14 14:03:03

I've posted before about my extended family who,what I have come to understand, are toxic.

I'll try not to dripfeed but will run over the pertinent details. Basically, there was a huge argument at the beginning of 2014 involving me, my DM and another relative. Extended family (an aunt, some cousins and nieces) said some awful things in the run-up, and during. Me and mine decided to cut them off as a result (things were never really smooth before - lots of falseness).

So far, not much after. Then there were a couple of significant family events - one our side; one theirs. I received an abusive letter for ignoring their occasion.

I did not retaliate. I am done.

Today, I was shopping and saw the (ex)aunt. We made eye contact and I looked away. She then made a beeline for me across the space, said that she can ignore me too. I said fine; I have nothing to say. Cue more abuse from her: I'm pathetic and it's all my fault confused

I felt myself getting angry, but realise that this wasn't the best course of action. We live in fairly close proximity (I have ignored her and others on around 5 occasions). It seems our silence is getting to them almost a year on.

How should I conduct myself if I bump into anu of them in future? I'm lucky that my dcs were at school when this happened.

MrsMcRuff Tue 04-Nov-14 14:09:11

Is there any mileage in trying to build bridges or are things beyond that? Sorry, am not aware of back story.

It sounds like quite a stressful situation, if you live so close to each other that encounters are inevitable.

How about a PA smile, wave and walk on, rather than completely ignore?

Meerka Tue 04-Nov-14 14:17:27

Next time she says "i can ignore you too" say "oh please do!"

But the resulting nastiness is yeah, nasty. All you can do is either a distant nod or else simply tell her to go away and keep repeating it like a broken record. Or find a security guard and ask them to get her to stop harassing you, if it's in a shopping centre. Or go nuclear and tell her to stop harassing you yourself, if she doesn't you'll ring 101, .. and then actually DO it in her presence. That'll stop her flat if she's at all within normal (wouldnt have worked with a female relative of mine, but that's rare).

GoatsDoRoam Tue 04-Nov-14 14:20:04

"I'm not interested" works as an answer to any statement they might make in a conversation that you have not invited and do not want to pursue. Because it's a true statement, and it does not engage with whatever bait they use.

"I can ignore you too!"
"I'm not interested."

"You're pathetic!"
"I'm not interested."

"You have to come to x family event!"
"I'm not interested."

So, if ever they corner you again:

Repeat "I'm not interested" like a broken record.
Walk away when possible.
Fix yourself a stiff gin and phone a good friend who knows the backstory to then offload the stress of the encounter.

Good luck.

DistanceCall Tue 04-Nov-14 14:37:56

You're doing fine. You will probably need to repeat this a number of times with different people until they realise that you're not reacting (Goats's suggestion to keep repeating "I'm not interested" is very good).

But do need to be consistent. If they get any reaction out of you, you will be rewarding them, and they will continue to harrass you in the future to make you do something, as it worked once.

They sound completely horrendous, by the way. Just stick to your guns and look forward to the peace and calm ahead, once this is all over.

Molotov Tue 04-Nov-14 15:35:52

Thank-you so much for answering. I needed some support! Just when I think it's all calming down, something happens and it's another kick (metaphorically speaking).

Unfortunately, the relationships are just not fixable anymore. The extended family are self-absorbed, egotisical narcissists and liars. To this day, even the fallout is all about how it affects them.

The 'I'm not interested' thing is a good auto-reply for future encounters, thanks.

It's just weird how I definitely want it to be the end, yet my heart pounded as it was going on, and afterwards.

wine for me later!!

DistanceCall Tue 04-Nov-14 23:03:57

It will die down, eventually, if they get tired of your not reacting. But they will kick and prod for a while, trying to set you off.

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. And yes, an occasional glass of wine can't hurt smile

Joysmum Wed 05-Nov-14 07:49:57

How about 'Your current behaviour confirms my opinion of you' and then smile and walk away.

Molotov Wed 05-Nov-14 09:40:20

All really good advice, thanks, and I appreciate your support. It's very useful to receive impartial feedback.

I feel that there will be some negative, uninvited communication from this: either a letter, phonecall, text or something - maybe even a house call. I need to prepare myself, as I think they feel strong enough to flare it all up again, where instead sleeping dogs should be left.

Meerka Wed 05-Nov-14 11:46:02

Preparing yourself is definitely a good idea. Being caught wrongfooted is really annoying. If you prepare and can not be caught offguard, there's a good chance of coming out of an encounter with at least the feeling that you've handled it in the way you want to and not been made to feel awful.

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