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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 20, 2008
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    602

    Default Dealing with Difficult (sometimes abusive) family

    I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

    Since I've been sick I've really had to cut back on a lot. One of the things that has really stressed me out is dealing with some of my emotionally/verbally abusive family members. To me, the solution was simple, just don't talk to them unless I have to. Well, wouldn't you know it, this makes me the devil in the flesh.

    We'll start with my mother. She's always been a source of problems. But, she's my mom so I try to keep the peace. She not understanding at all, has accused me of making myself have pancreatitis, tried to tell me how to deal with it and how to run my life. (My pancreas issues are from a common birth defect, so they are no one's fault.) At first I let it slide and knew it was hard for her to know she had a really sick daughter. But she became increasingly more intrusive and nasty.

    Finally, I kindly told her that some of the things she does/says really upset me and cause me stress and asked her to back off. That didn't go well. It turned into, don't try to use your psychology crap on me. You are the one with the problem I am just telling you how I think. When I said that she was "telling" me in less than kind ways and that I was talking to her like I would anyone else she again blamed me.

    Fast forward a few months. I talk to her here and there. Now her mom is in the hospital. Her mom is mean. Every time I speak to her it is never good. I am either a brat, a baby, fat, too skinny, stupid, snobby...you get the idea. This is after I say, "Hi! How are you?" It launches into a verbal attack. That is her and has always been her.

    My mom kept calling insisting I call my grandmother because she was sick and it was hurting her feelings. I gave in because I get what it is like to be ill. I am not sure why I thought it would be different but she again was nasty.

    A few weeks later, grandmother is back in the hospital. Again, I get a call from mother saying, call her, you NEED to call her. What if she dies? The guilt trip. I explained I would send a card but that in my current mental and physical state I could not handle any more stress myself and I asked her to please back off. She lit into me. A few days pass and she gets my Dad to text me, then my aunt. Finally I called. The conversation was this.....

    Me: "Hi! How are you feeling?"
    Her: "How do you think?"
    Me: "I am so sorry. I totally understand how much it stinks to be stuck in the hospital."
    Her: "What Mr.SFrost doing?"
    Me: "he's at work right now."
    Her:" GOOD. He needs to get away from you because you are a little witch."
    Me: "Oh wow, no, I'm not and he doesn't think so."
    Her: "yes you are, YOU LITTLE WITCH."

    Someone took the phone form her thankfully. And no, she isn't senile. It isn't because of meds or being sick. This is her-always has been.

    I was on FB and simply posted, "If you dont have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I made no reference to who or what. Just a venting statement. My dear ol' mom saw this and berated me on FB demanding I take it down. She then blocked me. Which is good.

    Anyway, I posted all that long story to say, how the heck does one deal with unruly family? I am sick, yes, but I am not asking for people to treat me different. I am just trying to avoid situation that cause stress because stress lands me in the ER with pancreatitis.

    I've tried to be rational and explain, not talk to them, everything outside of change my number so they can't call me.

    OHHHHH. Today is my birthday. The TEXT I got from my mom... "Hope you have a good birthday. I am still very angry with you. Love you!"

    Really? Why send that at all? It just hurt my feelings. Can't even call your ONLY child?

    Ugh.



  2. #2
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Do your best to remember that your grandmother gave your mom (her daughter) piss-poor emotional equipment. She sucks at dealing with you because she had to figure out how to survive being raised by her own emotionally-abusive mother.

    IMO, you get to choose the relationships you have with your mother and grandmother separately. But then your mom needs to choose how, or IF, she wants to have a relationship with you. If so, then her behavior towards you needs to change.

    Make your peace with whether or not your grandmother gets to enjoy a good relationship with you before she dies. If she can't be civil before she kicks the bucket, know that that's beyond your control and accept it. If you feel you must move Heaven and Earth to keep peace with her-- sick and old and all-- then do it, but only do it for yourself.

    Someone once reminded me that we don't get to pick our first family, the one we are born into. Fortunately, we do get to pick everyone else in our life.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    8 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Jan. 20, 2008
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    602

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    MVP, you hit the nail on the head. I do feel for my mom having to grow up with that. She had a crappy childhood.

    As for my grandmother. I'm pretty much done. She'll attempt to say sorry but really, she's already told me what she really thinks of me. (And has been all my life.) So one sorry does not make it ok. Right now, I feel it is a survival thing for me. I simply can't deal with any more. I just can't.

    As for my mother. I don't know. She's going to be just like her mom. Add to that she's a drinker and has some MI, IMO. I can't sort that out for her. I can't make her be nice. I can't ever have a normal adult conversation. It makes me so sad. I WISH I had a good support system because my health situation is terrible right now, but I can't make people change. I just thought a mom was supposed to be kind and give unconditional love. Especially when their kid is having a rough go.

    You are 100% right in everything you said in your post.



  4. #4
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    Nov. 23, 1999
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    South Coast Plaza
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    20,252

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    Nowhere in life's rule book does it say you must be some a-hole's whipping post. Those are two relationships I would end.
    EDDIE WOULD GO


    20 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    Mar. 10, 2009
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    5,102

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    Honestly? And I know this is easy for someone not in the middle of this to say - I'd cut them loose. You can't change them and it does not seem as though they think there is anything they need to change.

    Take care of yourself.


    9 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    OP, I feel you with respect to the way that your own health is making you wish for a better family... the one that hasn't been there for much longer than you have been alive!

    Sigh. Honey, you make damned sure that you have some quality people in yo' life. Don't make no nevermind whether they are blood or not. Insist on quality, give back quality and you will have what you need.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    11 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Oct. 15, 2001
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    4,674

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    Walk away. Cease communication. See a therapist. I say that as someone who has similar family dynamics, moved clear across the country and spent quality time in therapy so I wouldn't end up like the rest of them. I speak to my family as little as possible, and my life is significantly better for it.


    8 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2010
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    Upstate New York
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    Oh, OP - so sorry you have to hear that crap. Especially the line about the psychology being your issue. No, that's how you've learned how to have rational conversations, and not be sucked into crises mode - something so many dysfunctional family types thrive on.

    Stay strong. I've been going through stuff lately with my Mom who suffers from dementia - sweet much of the time, sweet on the outside, but still can dish it out at an ancient age. But just realized (as I'm writing it out here on COTH, actually) that she also gave me the presence of mind to think for myself - which is why I had the strength to seek counseling. And yes, mine didn't have the best relationship with her mother either. The second we went on our yearly visit to see her, they got into an argument. Too many independent minds in one room perhaps?

    Bet your grandmother didn't have a great bringing up as well. You can excuse their behavior due to its origins, but doesn't mean you have to pay the penance from here until eternity because of others' unhappy childhoods.

    Take care of yourself first.
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes


    2 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Alabama
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    First for your own mental health stop bothering with Granny Crankypants. Block her number, block anyone else from your phone that annoys you. You deserve to be treasured and valued for the person you are, and if someone is doing anything else for whatever reasons they are berating you, then block them. With your social media (FB I guess) you can hide postings from anyone, but also unfriend or block them. I understand your mother has issues from her mother, but that's not an excuse to dump on you when you're sick. Read a book on Toxic parents, or relatives, and recognize that even though they can't help being the way they are, that it's not your fault, and you don't have to be abused by them.

    I like the three strikes and you're out rule some people on here have enforced with abusive relatives.

    You don't owe anyone for being born, and don't let someone guilt you into being abused by mean people just because 'they are getting older and might not be here longer'. They pulled that junk about my bitch of a grandmother, and when she finally died I didn't care at all. It was actually a relief not to have to watch her pull her guilt trips on everyone, and watch her manipulations and abuse. If grandma calls and starts that junk, then hang up. If she's on a landline look up the block code and block her number.

    You come first, and you need to take care of yourself. Stress is a killer, and it's not helping you health or your happiness one bit to have people abusing you this way.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  10. #10
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    Nov. 25, 2004
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    Greenville, SC
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    889

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    Quote Originally Posted by SFrost View Post
    OHHHHH. Today is my birthday. The TEXT I got from my mom... "Hope you have a good birthday. I am still very angry with you. Love you!"

    Really? Why send that at all? It just hurt my feelings. Can't even call your ONLY child?

    Ugh.
    Because this way (the insults, the comments, the passive/aggressive crap) makes sure that you will never forget her; she's still a presence in your life and she's making darn sure to keep it that way. It's essentially a way for her to control you, because she IS manipulating your feelings and your health.

    To me, the only solution would be to show your mom that you're done. Unfriend her on FB, block her number, etc. No contact, period. If, after a while, she bugs you to resume contact, tell her she gets one strike. One insult, one snide remark, back goes radio silence.

    This is a typical method of control used by abusive parents. YOU are the only one who can break it or make a change. Much sympathy
    Lucy (Precious Star) - 1994 TB mare; happily reunited with her colt Touch the Stars


    8 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
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    what everybody else said. oh, and


    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
    Gravity works, and the laws of physics are a bitch.

    Member: Rabid Garden Snail Clique


    7 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
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    Oct. 14, 2010
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    We have one of those, I don't think quite as bad in our family. Two of her 3 sones rarely visit. The oldest, who does take care of her, is repeatedly told how much better his younger brothers (the ones that she never sees & rarely hears from) are than he is. His daughter is MR/DD; his parents said she should have been institutionalized. Some really hateful stuff. This guy is going to fast track through Purgatory when he dies.

    The old dear was quite hurtful to her middle son's wife for several years. They finally stopped coming to family get togethers. I would bet that his wife laid down the law and told him he had a choice to make. We haven't seen her in years, but they raised a lovely daughter and seem happy. They've also missed some really bad turkeys.

    My mother went off on the old lady a couple days b/f Christmas. We were over changing her smoke detector battery (long story) and she said it "should be family doing this" Uh, we aren't family? (SIL of 40 yrs + niece/god daughter) Mom hasn't really talked to her since Christmas, rarely visits her in the nursing home she's in right now. I keep telling her not to worry about it. The old lady has made this bed. She has used & abused people for years.

    If it had been me, when she made the "You're not family" comment 2 days before Christmas, I would have uninvited her, right then & there. If we weren't family than there was no reason for her to come over. Sometimes keeping the peace is highly over rated.



  13. #13
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    Jul. 22, 2008
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    Rochester, NY
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    I am so sorry, OP.

    I have one incredibly toxic close family member whom I have been trying, out of respect for my parent's wishes that I do so, to maintain the peace with for most of my adult life. What I have learned from this experience is that some people simply do not want peace maintained, and to those people, every deep breath you take to calm yourself becomes another opportunity for attack. Every inch you back down to "maintain peace" is another inch of boundary lost, and reclaiming your boundaries is an outright war. As Schune said, these are exploitative, manipulative tactics used by people who would abuse your willingness to love. It is cruel, childish, and benefits no one to suffer their abuse.

    We are flooded from birth with messages of what a Mother, Father, Brother, et al "is", and the disparity between those messages & reality often causes folks to suffer great indignity in the name of "love", because "She's my Mom so I have to". No, you do not. Birthing you- or in my case, being produced by the same people- does not entitle one to treat you like shi*. Acts of biology do not absolve you of sins and bad acts.

    We all have bad days, bad times, but where there is a history of abuse, you are getting away from a "bad time". Abuse is abuse.

    Read this blog post, please. It is geared towards a young demographic, but I feel the message is important and profound for all age groups who struggle with difficult family relationships. I know the blogger, and she has written from the heart here. She and I have talked at length about our situations, and while very different in many ways, what is the same for us is that we have chosen to be healthy and happy by eliminating toxic people from our lives. It has been hard, of course, but in the long run, the conscious decision to NOT be abused, degraded and damaged is empowering. Making healthy choices for ourselves, making our own families from people we love and who treat us with respect, makes us stronger.

    Cut 'em loose. Look out for yourself. Do not allow your health, mental and physical, to be eroded. Build your own damn family.

    http://offbeatfamilies.com/2013/02/p...l-estrangement
    bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
    free bar.ka and tidy rabbit



  14. #14
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    Sep. 24, 2003
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    Bristol, TN
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    My husband and I have had to deal with some tough issues regarding our parents. I feel for you.

    First of all, don't let anybody guilt you into communicating with your grandmother. She sounds hateful. If YOU feel like contacting her, tell her up front that the first time she says anything nasty, you will hang up the phone. Then do it.

    I would guess the whole family gangs up on you to stay in touch with her because you're the one with the smarts and guts to see her behavior as it is. I went through/am going through something similar.

    With one of our parents, we were able to make it very clear that we would resume communication when said parent took a few concrete steps toward changing his behavior. He was NOT allowed to behave in ways that hurt my children. I did take the step of blocking his phone number, which pissed him off, but he'd started making daily harrassing phone calls to let me know he wasn't going to change, nonny nonny, so I felt I had no choice.

    Eventually he decided I meant what I said. Somewhat to my surprise, he began to change his behavior, and as he did we slowly let him back into our lives. Our relationship is now marked by an openness and honesty that wasn't possible before. It's a blooming miracle.

    On the other hand, we've nearly completely cut off communication with another of our parents. I don't think she'll ever change, and her behavior is unacceptable. I wish things were different, but the truth is that we're all better off without her at this point.

    Good luck. Take care of yourself. Try to find some friends who can be the family you need.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    May. 11, 2004
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    I understand where you are coming from... I wonder if your mother is related to my father?

    I don't even receive text messages from my dad for my b-day. I cut off all but necessary communications with him 5yrs maybe 6 now and it has been bliss. Last I heard he is calling my family and I "bottem feeders" and well like I said 5 or 6yrs of bliss.
    Friend of bar .ka



  16. #16
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    Feb. 26, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by red mares View Post
    Sometimes keeping the peace is highly over rated.
    This is the best line ever. Might I steal it??

    OP, Happy Birthday! You deserve better than what you got , I'm sure you have a very supportive network of friends that can be your family. Block all contact with the mean spirited folk in your life. Block their numbers, return any mail they send. I get that your mom probably had a craptastic childhood, but at some point in her adult life, she made a decision to follow the same path. That is not your burden to carry.

    Good luck and may you have a great birthday!!!
    From AliCat518 "Seriously, why would you NOT put fried chicken in your purse?!"


    2 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
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    Oct. 1, 2002
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    Union Bridge, MD
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    WOW at the text message. What kind of person thinks it's acceptable to send that??

    I had an aunt like this. She and her husband (my mother's brother) would always visit our family at Thanksgiving. When she was sober, she'd just drop little nasty remarks into conversation, but when she got in her cups--watch out, because Turbo Bitch is on the loose!

    I was always really upset that my mother didn't take her to task, and when my mother got sick with cancer, TB went out of her way to say some really horrible things to me about my insufficiencies as a daughter. After my mother died, I cut TB and uncle out of my lives. Never spoke to them again, never saw them again. Got married and they were not invited (had a few words with my brother about that, which came down to "My wedding, my money, my rules."). Both uncle and TB died, I did not go to the funerals.

    Some people just don't deserve to be in your life. I'm sorry for you that your mother and grandmother are those kinds of people.

    JanM and Schune have it right. Block their numbers and change your email, unfriend your mother on FB (you can set it so that she can't contact you). Put your energy toward building relationships with people who are capable of behaving like adults, because clearly neither of these two people can. I can tell you from experience that you will be so much happier when you do.
    Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.



  18. #18
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    Jul. 13, 2011
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    OP, what Coreene and others have said. Cut them both loose. As someone who has done this with not one but two siblings, I can tell you it feels WONDERFUL not to have them in my life anymore! I do have two remaining siblings who are great, we are very close. It will be a huge relief to you.

    And happy birthday!
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
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    Jul. 11, 2004
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    Oh for Gawd's sake....kick both of these evil sows to the kerb...they don't deserve to be respected or tolerated. They're poison to your life and to anyone close to you.

    Don't answer the phone calls from them, just consider them dead to you. With luck your grandmother will be dead soon, that much evil and nasty doesn't derserve to live and certainly doesn't deserve your attention. Your mother is evil...you have to face that simple thing and that she's not worth your time or emotion.

    Life's too short to have these women in your life.
    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


    2 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    If they're re-trainable, the 3 strikes you're out works. Worked with my father who was incorrigible. You have to let them know you're not going to take their crap anymore up front. After the third nasty comment, that's it, time's up. In my case my father was no longer driving so he went directly home. If it was on the phone, I'd say goodbye...I'll talk to you tomorrow.


    My MIL is a different story. Didn't work for her (my husband is not really good at retraining...dogs or humans) so I just cut her out of my life. My daughter had to too. Sometimes you reap what you sow.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


    1 members found this post helpful.

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