should I divorce my family of origin?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 08-14-2006, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How many of us have asked this question for whatever reason. Before DS was born, it was just us adults and DP and I had developed pretty thick skins when it came to dealing with my family of origin. They were never aggressive, attacking or outwardly mean but there was alway an attitude of superiority in they way they acted and the things they said. (BTW my family of origin consists of parents, and two brothers, their wives and children)

Now that DS is here things over the past 29 months have turned from bad to worse. First was the whole mess of telling any of them DS was on the way. None we happy for me or us. When DS was born only my parents came to the hospital to see him and that was only because he came on his own early. Had he arrived on the day we planned to induce my folks would have been at a meeting (and it wasn't a meeting that they couldn't have gotten out of, trust me, I've seen my dad miss those meeting before). From there things have slowly gotten worse. Last Thanksgiving when DS was about a week shy of 1 yr all hell broke loose. Brother was acting like a total jerk and though I don't agree with how she did it, my mom called him on it. It just got worse from there. We had seperate Christmas celebrations. To date, we have not seen no spoken to either brother and their associated families since December 2005. Though my mother calls from time to time neither she nor my dad have made any attemp to see DS since January 2006. We did take DS up to my folks (two hour drive away) over memorial weekend for a short visit but that was stressfull and dad hid in his office for nearly the entire 3 hours we were there. blahblahblah

So, we are contimplating just taking the lead and cutting all ties. Visits will only be allowed under strict supervision. Our basic concern is that DS will pick up on the tension in the air that is so thick you could cut it with a fork. That cousins will begin to tell him all kinds of untrue and negetive things about his moms, his family and himself.

Have any of you had something like this happen?? How have you dealt with it?? There is so much more to the whole story than I can tell here, but in general if you have had to cut ties with family of origin to protect family, can you tell us a little about why and how you did it??

Thanks
diane

FT mom, FT wife & FT employee.. DS - 11-2004 and second DC due 7-2010
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#2 of 9 Old 08-16-2006, 10:03 AM
 
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Wow, (((HUGS)))
sounds like a REALLY tough situation.
I cant say my relationship with my family is great, but nothing like that. I have chosen to limit my dd's contact with my family, not because of any issues over my lifestyle, (they're not "happy" about it, but they accept me because that's who I am and I'm happy) but because when someone in our family came out and admitted that she'd been sexually abused by another family member, the whole family accused the young girl of lying and took the side of my grandfather, and refused to talk about it.


I choose to distance myself, and my daughter, from people who act like this. For me its not so hard, as we live in another country now. But I made that choice after a lot of suffering and soul-searching.

If my family ever show that they are open and willing to change, willing to talk about what happened and to show to my grandfather that what he did was wrong and unacceptable, and to show some support and love to the abused child (now grown-up), then perhaps I would be willing to mend those bridges. but for now, we dont visit, we have very little contact. My grandfather's mail is returned unanswered.

I dont know if this helps at all, and I know it's not exactly the same situation, but there is a point where you can see that a situation is unhealthy, and it's not up to you to heal or change anyone else but yourself. So sometimes it happens that the best thing is just to remove ourselves from an unhealthy situation. It's NOT "running away", it's putting a healthy distance between yourself (and your child) and a potentially damaging situation.

All the best, let us know how it works out for you. Perhaps someone else will have some more advice and ideas for you...

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#3 of 9 Old 08-16-2006, 11:28 AM
 
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Seems to me you already have some distance. Even though we live in the same metro area, we see little of either of DH's parents, and almost always at their request--invitations to family gatherings with his dad 2 or 3 times a year, for example, and his mom will come here 3 or 4 times a year--DH will go over to her house more often, but only when she wants help moving furniture or fixing her computer. I visited with my dad (a judgmental prick if ever there was one--critical of bf'ing and if I had a female partner who knows if we'd still be speaking) once during a month-long visit to the area where he lives. He didn't invite me over and got mad when I didn't just show up at his house uninvited when he knew I had no car and was 20 miles away.

Family that want to be hostile will always find something to dredge up, drag out, complain, or lie about.

I would probably keep going as you are, don't cut anyone off, make the occasional gesture such as inviting your parents for your son's birthday or other occasions, keep in touch, but that doesn't mean you have to let them walk all over you or bend over backwards to accomodate their lousy attitudes.

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#4 of 9 Old 08-16-2006, 11:58 AM
 
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I guess my question for you (and one that I ask myself regularly, FWIW) is this: What do you get out of your relationship with them?
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#5 of 9 Old 08-18-2006, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's a very good question frog. I have asked it myself. I have spent much of the last 8 months since my parents started giving us the silent treatment in an attempt at emotional blackmail, greiving their loss in DS's life. To be honest though, very very little to nothing but hurt comes from our relationships with any of them any more. And for me that is a very sad thing because both DP and I have very fond memories of our grandparents and the roles they played in our lives. Same with my aunt and uncle and cousins when I was the kid. It makes me sad that DS will not get to have those kinds of memories.

The fact that nearly every interaction with them these days in hurtful is why we have considered eliminating interaction or communcation with them completely and not invite them to birthday's etc. We don't want them to decide to actually show up for once and spoil things. But for now, we'll just play wait and see.

Thanks to all that responded.. If any others have a story or idea to share, please do!!

diane

FT mom, FT wife & FT employee.. DS - 11-2004 and second DC due 7-2010
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#6 of 9 Old 08-18-2006, 10:39 PM
 
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Grettal, no matter what you decide to do about your FOO, I think it's always a good idea to make sure that your kids have a group of caring adults in their lives. Since our FOOs are pretty darn screwed up, turtle and I are doing what we can to make sure that the tadpole(s) will have lots of adults around who can be the grandparently people we want them to have in their lives. Our parents simply aren't capable of it, for the most part.

I wish you the best of luck. It's such a hard thing, all the way around. I'm sorry you're going through this.
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#7 of 9 Old 08-21-2006, 11:01 AM
 
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My father was angry as soon as we told him we were pregnant. Over the next few months our relationship got worse and he stopped speaking to me. I went to therapy about it and have realized he has abandoned me over and over in life and this is no different. I am sick of accepting poor treatement. He has a personality disorder and is an alcoholic. So why would I even want this little one around him. I was mourning the loss at first, but now I am actually feeling relieved. I am seeing the relationship more accurately and with less emotion and that feels well.

I speak to my mother. She is bi-polar. She has been happy about the baby. For the last month she has been on a wildly awful manic phase - one that she only goes into every few years. I am supposed to go there in a few weeks for a baby shower, but it stresses me so much, I am not going. It makes me sad that every time I have a life changing event, a milestone, my mother freaks out and can't handle the change. And yet, me and baby can't take that level of stress. I have had calls from the police wondering about her sanity. I have tried getting her a social worker, but in MI where she lives they don't have any any more. You can have the person held for a day in a psych ward or nothing. So I don't know if there is any help for her. I know that every time this happens, she eventually will wind down. There isn't much I can do to stop her or help her. I have tried and have been dealing with this my whole life. So anyway, this time I am choosing not to go. I don't want to expose this baby to that level of stress and my mom is not worth risking loosing this baby. In the future, she will see my child, but in supervised situations. She is great when she is more balanced and on her meds, but not all the time and I need to remember that to protect my child.

I dont' know if that helps, but many of us have these situations.

Take care of you, and your family,
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#8 of 9 Old 08-21-2006, 11:09 AM
 
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I have been thinking about your post for a while, and trying to think how I want to express my thoughts.

I think that many of us have to set certain boundaries with our families of origin in order to preserve our health and well being, and the health and well being of our children. In some cases, this might mean not having contact with them. One thing I have experienced in the last two years as a mother, however, is how deeply my parents are a part of me. I see each of them come through my parenting, often in ways that I'm not particularly happy about! It has been helpful to me to acknowledge this gently, and to make peace with them in my heart, rather than continue to wage a war. I know that I have nourished some very different seeds in myself, and also been very fortunate to have circumstances and information that leads me to different parenting choices. When I am able to operate from a place of acceptance of what is, and forgiveness for what was, I am a much better mother, and the negative legacy I have inherited has a lot less opportunity to flourish.

So whatever you decide to do with your family in terms of actual contact, I hope you are able to come to a place of peace internally.
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#9 of 9 Old 08-30-2006, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to everyone for their sharing and encouraging words. As fate would have it, other issues with regards to my parents and one brother came to kind of a head about 2 weeks ago. I finally put my foot down and refused to "do as I was told" by them with regards to some things. You probably could have seen the heat generated by my father and brother when they read that e-mail. Anyway, to make a long story short, my mother and I ended up having a pretty long conversation in the aftermath that was pretty productive. We cleared up some incorrect assumptions, etc.. We even drove up for a short visit last weekend for my mom's birthday. It was her gift to see her grandson. It went OK.. DS is still young enough that he really only understands if you ask him if he want's more milk and nothing more complicated than that and we didn't see any of his cousins anyway.

Thanks especially to Diane B for her words. What you say reminds me of my years in Alanon.. I learned a lot of good things there..

Thanks to Everyone
diane

FT mom, FT wife & FT employee.. DS - 11-2004 and second DC due 7-2010
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