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Family - how much do they affect YOU?

(43 Posts)
unicorn Fri 06-May-05 22:45:06

...apologiesin advance, for my reacurring problem!
But my family(mother father siblings) still have a major impact me.

I know they aren't good for me, and haven't really been any help since having kids... but I still hold this naive version of what 'family' is/ or could be.

How do I get a grip and, a)stop wishing they were something else? and b)grow up and accept them for what they are??

Trinab75 Sat 07-May-05 09:41:03

I have exactly the same problem, I envy all my friends and family who take for granted the family relationships they have.

Just little things like them all going out for a birthday meal, being able to phone someone for support or someone calling you to see how you are.

I really don't think anyone else understands the big space this leaves unless they are in the same position.

I think it's impossible to stop craving those close relationships and ideal family life, but at some point I guess we need to accept it.

I am having a shitty week , this week feeling down about my lack of family interaction/support, but I know I will be feeling better soon, I always snap out of it eventually.

My way of feeling better, is knowing I will do all I can to have a loving supportive family for my children when they grow up.

Pruni Sat 07-May-05 09:59:23

Message withdrawn

mum2twins Sat 07-May-05 10:04:22

Same here. My mum & dad only live 10 minutes away but will not babysit as I quote " they are your kids I've done my bit with you and your brother" My mum is the main problem full of conditional love. I have tried also to move on but I think it is impossible. I can't imagine ever treating my own children with contempt.

lavenderrr Sat 07-May-05 10:05:59

you can choose your friends and not your family...such a true saying...could have written that also, think families can be there if you have a real problem and you want someone to tlak to but the everyday chatting and knowing what is going in their lives is a mystery to me...I do all the ringing and most of the e-mailing..like Pruni said you and your dp and children are your family now...still hard I know but families can be very complex...hope you feel okay

mogwai Sat 07-May-05 13:30:49

pah! Families!

Picture for a minute the cast of "shameless" playing host to a bookworm child with thick specs and a love of animals and birds! That was me! It's amazing some of us survive growing up with a bunch of shallow gits. I was treated badly by my mother, years later she's lonely and wants to be best mates! Apart from the fact there's too much unforgiven, we have absolutely nothing in common and she irritates the hell out of me.

Oh yeah, and my sister is the living incarnation of Vicky Pollard.

I always count my blessings to have a nice life, good job, lovely home, and real love and respect of a smashing dh. Having your own family can't replace what you should have had, but there are plenty of folk who had loving families and found themselves unable to have a family of their own, for whatever reason, I look at it like that.

Chin up chuck

tomkat Tue 10-May-05 21:33:06

Hi, Unicorn!
I've had problems too. My Mum was never really "maternal", my Dad was a heavy drinker who couldn't be bothered with me. I'm an only child, and although I have lots of cousins, aunties etc, none lived close by. I'm now 30, Mum died 3 years ago, and Dad's got senile dementia and lives in a care home. I feel lost, and a bit envious of people with close-knit families. Although I'm now married, dh's family don't seem to give a whatsit about me either. Have times when I think b*gger them all, other times get upset too. Think we've got to grin and bear it, accept that "leopards never change their spots" and save our sanity!

MeerkatsUnite Wed 11-May-05 07:34:42

Hi Unicorn,

Not at all surprised to read your message I am sorry to say. When family fails to live up to the "ideal" it can and does hurt and you do end up blaming yourself. However, I would say to you do not blame yourself entirely; many such unsupportive parents in all likelihood have issues that they cannot or will not deal with.

I have had the same type of response that Mum2twins mother gave her. This along with other comments from my parents has given me no end of unhappiness over the past six years and it is neither easy to forgive or forget. I have come to accept they will not change and that has made me feel happier in myself along with the determination not to screw up like they did.

I would also agree with Trinab in that others cannot fully comprehend this unless they are in this situation themselves.

Would suggest you read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward as this does give some insight into why such families behave in the dysfunctional ways they do.

I wish you well

fostermum Fri 13-May-05 09:21:44

i am effected by my family only in so much as i take my kids into consideration in every thing i do even though they are grown with kids of there own,while they want me to be i am there for them and as for my parents ive always been responsible for them ever since i started walking so yes they have to be considered in everything to

mogwai Fri 13-May-05 22:51:21

another vote for "toxic parents" - a great book that helped me a lot. Stuff about families having an unwritten "rule book" and you being punished if you don't stick to the rules.

You might find it puts things into perspective. Got mine on Amazon.

Chandra Fri 13-May-05 23:19:42

I had an excellent relationship with my father and a rubish one with my mother. And spent the first 20 yrs of my life trying to make her proud of me but it didn't work. One day she told me that she didn't like me since I was a baby which made me realise that it was not about me but about her failing to see that I was not the horrible person that she had pictured in her mind. So, that day I stoped trying and accepted that it was not my fault, and in a way I felt free, it was her problem not mine and I didn't need to try to please her anymore. Curiously, that was when the relationship started to improve as I started to expect less from her so I didn't feel so disapointed. Curiously enough our relationship now is so good that I ring her to have a chat when I have a problem... and incredible...she pays attention to me!


I think that the idea of the family making happy jokes over the Christmas table is pushed into us far more than what is real. Most families are formed by very imperfect individuals, and everybody has one issue or another. I think is only healthy to accept that not because we are family we will end up being lovely, wonderful and most of all, compatible with the rest of the family.

mogwai Fri 13-May-05 23:25:31

Agree with Chandra - it's liberating when you realise THEY have a problem, not you. I strongly suspect my mother would be diagnosed with a personality disorder if she saw a psychiatrist.

However, in my experience, knowing this doesn't always stop you having moments of doubt where you wonder whether you really are the awful person they think you are. I've come to accept that, and I've come to accept her, if only she would stop pushing for us to be closer. I can't be closer to her cos I've had to spend 20 years protecting myself from her. Self preservation, whatever.

SO now she accuses me of "putting up barriers" against her (blame must be mine, then!).

Jeees!

Pruni Fri 13-May-05 23:29:07

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mogwai Fri 13-May-05 23:32:29

I found it easier not to put any effort in either, but then I got married and pregnant, she got older and lonelier (has no friends, can't maintain relationships) so now wants more from me than I can give without compromising my own happiness (she'd like to be here every weekend; one every few months is enough for me).

If you get hold of a good psychatry text book, you can probably fit lots of people into one or more personality disorders! However, I truly believe she's off the scale for some of th personality traits described. Interesting reading!

Chandra Fri 13-May-05 23:38:50

I have no doubts about myself. I'm sure I was never on drugs, I never "borrowed" cars that were not mine, never stole exams from her desk, etc. I don't wish my life to have been different, while trying to impress my mother I did many things that helped me to have access to more interesting things in the future. I think I have had an interesting life, and I'm sure that without the points I got while trying to impress my mother, I would have not had access to it.

mogwai Fri 13-May-05 23:45:31

that rings a bell, Chandra.

I did ok in life, I think I was also always waiting for her to turn around and change how she felt about me. Mind you, in the end I realised she would never change, so I was doing it in spite of her, to prove something to myself.

SO something positive came out of it for both of us. Thank goodness we have the perspective to see that!

Of course, now she's DEAD proud of me......I'm HER great achievement! How ironic

Pruni Sat 14-May-05 13:50:56

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Donbean Sat 14-May-05 15:01:54

similarly to previous postings i too cut off from unhealthy family members and felt that a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
I have simply removed it from my horizon and feel happy with what i have made for myself, my achievements are my own through hard work and perseverence.
i will be a better parent to my child, no thanks to the example set to me by them.

Chandra Sat 14-May-05 15:11:03

"i will be a better parent to my child, no thanks to the example set to me by them." On the contrary Donbean, thanks to their example. We may not know what kind of parent we want to be but we really know well what's better to avoid!

mogwai Sat 14-May-05 20:19:24

Blimey Pruni, are we related???!

I also have a much younger sister who is wayward. She's 18 and never worked a day in her life, nor does she intend to. She just cruises around the area in cars with her mates and their boyfriends, has casual sex. She only draws the line at smoking!

My mother knows she did a bad job of me (I wrote and told her so when she continually accused me of "putting up barriers") but she's so thick skinned, she thinks the problem is thatI had to financially support myself, she really can't understand the lack of emotional support (food and shelter more or less provided, as you described - I say more or less, there were four of us in the house and she bought three of everything, so I often wasn't even considered worthy of feeding!!).

I suppose some people see only what they want to see. But my graduation picture on her wall, my wedding picture.....I don't know what she has to be proud about, other than the fact I'm pretty much the only member of the family to have made "a success" of their lives, and as I am technically her daughter, I guess that my life is also her greatest achievement. Sad really, and yes, I feel the responsibility not to repeat it with my own children, but it's an easy responsibility to bear - you'd have to be pretty thick and messed in the head to treat your own children with such cruelty

joash Sat 14-May-05 20:55:11

Not sure if this'll helap but I dumped my entire family four years ago (except for one lovely brother and his 'brood') - best thing I ever did. My life is so much better without them and all the crap they bring.

Pruni Sat 14-May-05 20:59:59

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mogwai Sat 14-May-05 22:05:58

agree joash, I have also dumped the crap family members, includng an uncle who spent my wedding day giving me dirty looks while drinking our wine and eating our food.

Dh said I would regret it - I never have (he has longer fuse than me).

Harder to dump your mother - anyone else agree? She's pretty alone in life, and she does TRY to make up for what she sees as the wrong she has done, but she thinks buying me a few things now and then makes it ok, has no idea of the depth of the problem. Maybe she's trying at her own level, it's just that we have very different expectations of reasonable behaviour!

joash Sat 14-May-05 22:18:52

took me 37 years to dump my mother - but as I said earlier, it is the best thing that I've ever done.

mogwai Sat 14-May-05 22:39:25

how does she feel about being dumped? My mother would be very hurt, I know it wouldn't even register with others

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