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family let down?(9 Posts)
I need a bit of help to word a text to my sister....It was her birthday this week, i sent her a happy birthday message but did not speak to her or send her a gift. (normally i would speak to her and then see her to give a gift when i next saw her)...This birthday i didn't. I have been feeling increasingly separated from her, ( and my other sister and parents) I am always the one to make contact, always the one to see if they are ok, to organise any get together. All contact starts with me, I do all the texting and calling. I have broached the subject and been told I am imagining it or they will make more of an effort, but they haven't. ( the rest of them all have VERY regual contact, a few times a week) I quite recently have had some medical issues, which i told them about. None of them have checked to see if I am doing ok. A few weeks ago i decided to stop making the effort. I haven't called them. I haven't text them. Shockingly since i have done that I have heard nothing from them. The day after her birthday i got a text telling me how disappointed in me she is. That a message just didn't cut it in her opinion but that she didn't want an argument. I decided not to reply, as i knew anything i replied would be very emotional and would lead to an argument.
I can see that i may have been childish by not calling her. BUT. I cant keep giving. Her message made it more than obvious that if it hadn't been her birthday she still wouldn't have got in contact. Its all about me letting her down by not calling her, I have been feeling let down for ages by her lack of care but i have just got on with it.
How do i articulate my feelings without sounding childish? ( which i can understand you thinking it is)
I can relate to this...I have family exactly like this, it's so so frustrating.
But I can understand her being funny if you've not sent a gift if you normally do.
I have been known to point out to people that the telephone works both directions.... would that help? and This is very familiar to me!
Sometimes when you stop others buck up and realise they need to contribute. But often they don't and something one sided becomes no sided.
Depends also on what your sister does for your birthday.
I would say well done to you for trying to further assert yourself by making less effort with them.
It sounds like you are the scapegoat in your family of origin; it is a role that likely was assigned to you many years ago. I do not think any of your family of origin are going to listen to any of your views no matter how nicely put across; their interests are self serving and part of that is you keeping to your assigned role of scapegoat. This is why your sister is annoyed at you; you are deviating from the script.
Don’t expect abusive family members to apologize or make amends. They will likely blame you more if you attempt to hold them accountable.
Start asserting your right to be treated respectfully with family and other people who try and abuse you. E.G., “The way you just spoke to me now is not acceptable, and I never want to be talked to like that again”, or “If you want to have a relationship with me, you will stop the angry outbursts, name calling, accusations, etc.” Know that you may not be heard or respected by aggressive people. The point is that you hear and respect yourself! Don’t do this until you are ready to follow through with your commitment to yourself.
Accept that you may never have a healthy relationship with your scapegoater(s). This may involve limited or no contact with those who are determined to continue to abuse you. You may experience feelings of grief. Work through the painful feelings, and get support if needed. This pain is much less harmful than continuing to allow yourself to be abused by anyone.
Understand that what you have come to believe about yourself as family Scapegoat – i.e. that you are bad, weird, inadequate or defective – is not the truth. In fact it’s likely a lie that was created to prevent family members from acknowledging their own troubles, thereby avoiding taking responsibility for both their behaviour and the need to change.
Locate and trust your ‘Inner Owl’ – that wise part of you that knows you have been mistreated and will no longer willingly allow this abuse from others or yourself.
Recognize that feelings of shame, guilt and self blame belong to the perpetrators, not you as target. You are simply a dumping ground for their bad feelings. To change this you need to start standing up to the notion that you are at fault. You will likely have to begin with yourself, learning to question and reject seeing yourself as ‘bad’.
If, as I suspect, your sister does not call you on your birthday, your text could explain that, as you said recently, you are tired of being the one who makes all the effort; as she doesn't call you on your birthday, you will no longer be calling her on hers. No need for her to be 'disappointed in you' (an interesting comment in itself - most of us might be hurt, but not disappointed in the other person!)
I can relate to this, although in my case it's 'friends' rather than family. I haven't texted/called, etc, for a few months now and they haven't once tried to contact me.
I'm not sure what the solution is though. I'm hurt by my friends' actions as I'm sure you are by your family; and I can imagine it's worse when it's family.
You're justified in your feelings and I think now that you've asserted yourself things might become tense. You've spoken to them about it before and nothing has changed so I'm not sure what else you could do. I guess you either have to carry on in the same vein or give in and be prepared to always be the one doing the chasing.
I know that at some point I'll get so lonely that I'll cave and text or call them because even seeing someone that obviously doesn't really care about me is better than always being alone; we'll arrange to meet up for an evening and that will be that until the next time I give in.
If you have some good friends that will be there for you and support you, it may be easier for you to stick to your guns and limit contact with your family,if that's what you decide to do.
I think the question you have to ask yourself is what you want from this and how far are you prepared to take it? If contact doesn't improve, will you be happy not seeing them, or would rather see them on their terms than not see them at all?
IMO, you need to hope for the best outcome but prepare for the worst.
I think all you can do is to explain how you feel and maybe acknowledge that it probably happens without ppl even realising. Try to keep emotion out of it so that you don't get upset, but be honest about how you feel (without sounding accusing, as this is likely to make them feel defensive).
I'm sorry I can't be of more help, but I hope for you, that you get the best outcome, and that your family make more of an effort with you. Good luck.
Don't know about wording of text, but DH had this with his DB and DSIL where they 'did cards' with no personal message, but very different input to her family. They were always cheerful and pleased to hear from him and we had good times when we met up, but always seemed to be our initiative. He said they had always been like this - thought it was because he was the eldest - they left things to him, or else because he was the one who left the hometown? It bothered him but nothing was ever said.
Anyway, he did eventually make a brief visit and tell them how he felt: I need you to phone me sometimes - doesn't have to be often.
He said they looked sheepish, but it wasn't a big deal - he wasn't whiny and didn't put them on the defensive or anything. Nothing changed their side at all - but the difference in him was incredible - he came home really energized and happy.
Good luck OP
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