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» Ship of Fools   »   » Oblivion   » Hating the Ones You Love: Just how much antipathy towards Family is one allowed? (Page 1)

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Hating the Ones You Love: Just how much antipathy towards Family is one allowed?
lilBuddha
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The Difficult Relatives thread in Hell has pondering just how much abuse is one required to bear from family.
Nagging to extreme abuse, where is the line for what must be endured?
And complaint.
ISTM, never a word of criticism is patently ridiculous and hate is unhelpful. This leaves a world of reaction in between. So how much can we bitch about parents, children, siblings, etc.?

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Hallellou, hallellou

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W Hyatt
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
So how much can we bitch about parents, children, siblings, etc.?

As much as we want, as long as it's done with love and with the realization that they will have valid complaints about us.

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A new church and a new earth, with Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by W Hyatt:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
So how much can we bitch about parents, children, siblings, etc.?

As much as we want, as long as it's done with love and with the realization that they will have valid complaints about us.
This assumes an equality of complaint. This may be true in some families, it is not a universal truth.
Let us take this to the extreme; beating to the point of broken bones, rape, starvation to near the point of death. But the abusers can then claim one's cries of pain were quite annoying?*
Yes, extreme as I stated. And not representative of everyone. But the OP is meant to address those situations of inequity, not parity.


*Recounting not my experience, but real examples of abuse none-the-less.

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quetzalcoatl
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I think hatred is OK, and in fact, seems unavoidable for some people. I suppose the thing is to work through it, and not just get stuck on it for the rest of one's life.

The first step in that, (I think) is to admit that you hate someone, and that's it's OK to do that. Then talk about it, at length, with someone who can listen, not another family member, or a friend, or they will end up hating you.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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W Hyatt
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@lilBuddha: Sorry - my response was too glib, but I think my point still applies: we can complain about people if we do it with an attitude of charity appropriate to the situation and with the realization that we have our own faults, even if our faults might come nowhere near to those we are complaining about. I think what we need to keep in mind is that no matter how serious the faults are that we see in others, we all have our good and bad sides and dealing effectively and appropriately with someone else's bad side does not have to involve hating them. Ideally, we can respond in a way that is consistent with how we'd like other people to deal with our own faults.

[ 29. January 2014, 03:53: Message edited by: W Hyatt ]

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A new church and a new earth, with Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life.

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Timothy the Obscure

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In Dialectical Behavior Therapy, there is an axiom:
I'm doing the best I can (given the strengths, skills, and resources I have available at this moment), and I can learn to do better.

Clients are encouraged to apply that to others, including their families--everyone is doing the best they can. Sometimes their best is piss-poor, and that needs to be acknowledged alongside the fact that it is their best. They're still responsible for trying to do better, though.

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When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
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la vie en rouge
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Looking at some of my friends, I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be healthy for there to be a bit more antipathy.

One person I know in particular was seriously messed up by her parents – her mother was an alcoholic and her father is a git (example: he put a load of money aside for a wedding fund, then proceeded to spend it all on her older sister so that there was none left when her turn came round*). The worst bit? She adores the guy. Just like she adored her abusive alcoholic mother. I totally understand why – when all’s said and done, for many people your parents are always your parents, but I kind of feel she’d be in a healthier, happier place as an independent adult if she would allow herself to be angry for a while.

*I’m not making a general comment about parents paying for their children’s weddings here, but it is all kinds of screwed up to spend all your savings on a fairytale wedding for one of your daughters and then do Sweet Fanny Adams for the other one.

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Honesty and trust build relationships. Complaining behind backs and nurturing resentment and hatred is harmful. Of course we should say so if others are negatively affecting us, and should repeat the complaint whenever the offence is repeated, perhaps in different ways and with new strategies, and with a desire to help the offender to find and overcome triggers.

I've seen the damage it does to family relationships when everyone tiptoes around on eggshells in case it sets an aggressive personality off. That is the way toward disintegration.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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L'organist
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I have a friend who struggled with parents and siblings for decades, to no avail.

In many families there is one person (usually a child) who is labelled a scapegoat and, regardless of reason - never mind fairness or evidence - is picked on constantly. This picking on can be just that - nitpicking.

But in the case of my friend it went way beyond this: they were hounded by family about everything. The family were the direct cause of the break-up of the first marriage and scuppered several other relationships before the friend took the plunge for a second time. Needless to say, this union too was disapproved of - none of them went to the wedding, they were never invited to family for Christmas, etc, etc. Against all reason they persisted in trying to maintain a relationship with parents and siblings.

What finally made my friend see sense about these wicked and obnoxious people was when they were widowed and NONE of the birth family got in contact.

Is my friend "justified" in hating the birth family - IMO absolutely.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I think hatred is OK, and in fact, seems unavoidable for some people. I suppose the thing is to work through it, and not just get stuck on it for the rest of one's life.

The first step in that, (I think) is to admit that you hate someone, and that's it's OK to do that. Then talk about it, at length, with someone who can listen, not another family member, or a friend, or they will end up hating you.

ISTM, we might have a similar outlook to hate. What one feels as a reaction is not necessarily good or bad in itself. Hate happens, but Hate held damages self. Hate held allows the hated to continue damaging.
Much easier said than done, if course.

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I put on my rockin' shoes in the morning
Hallellou, hallellou

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I think hatred is OK, and in fact, seems unavoidable for some people. I suppose the thing is to work through it, and not just get stuck on it for the rest of one's life.

The first step in that, (I think) is to admit that you hate someone, and that's it's OK to do that. Then talk about it, at length, with someone who can listen, not another family member, or a friend, or they will end up hating you.

ISTM, we might have a similar outlook to hate. What one feels as a reaction is not necessarily good or bad in itself. Hate happens, but Hate held damages self. Hate held allows the hated to continue damaging.
Much easier said than done, if course.

Yes, hatred held inside is utterly corrosive, and hatred repressed is destructive.

There is an interesting idea that stuff like hatred and guilt actually form covert bonds with the person hated or guilted, or whatever.

In other words, one reason that we can't let go of the hatred/guilt/fear etc., is that it means letting go of that person.

So it's a kind of negative attachment. Well, I am convinced this does happen with some people, and it actually relates to the idea of mourning. Without the hatred/guilt, some people feel quite bereft.

But that's not the only reason that it's hard to admit to hatred, there's also embarrassment, shame, one's self-image needs protecting, and other stuff. Probably a tough one for Christians!

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Lilac
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In child-rearing, is the Pavlovian approach abusive? From my experience I'd say so. Children are more complicated than the "conditioning" approach allows for.

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Seeking...

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Lilac:
In child-rearing, is the Pavlovian approach abusive? From my experience I'd say so. Children are more complicated than the "conditioning" approach allows for.

A bit of a tangent, but I would say behavioral methods (conditioning) can be helpful, even kind, when limited to certain kinds of specific problematic behaviors, and-- so important--
done properly. It can indeed be abusive when misused.

An ex: when my oldest son was in kindergarten he had some low-level behavioral issues that tweaked his kindergarten teacher so that he got referred for testing for ADHD. The psychologist who did the testing said he was too young to tell for sure, his behavior might indicate ADHD but he was more inclined to think it was simple immaturity and lack of impulse control (kindergarten teacher unhappy to not have the diagnosis she wanted). We struggled thru the rest of the year.

Next year he has similar behavioral issues but fortunately a wonderful 1st gr. teacher. We shared the test results with him, he was much more open to the idea of immaturity/impulse control as a diagnosis, so the goal shifted from "fixing" son to just "teaching impulse control." We came up with a very simple-- and key, specific-- system that identified 2 or 3 very specific behaviors that were disruptive in the classroom and teacher agreed to track them on a daily basis using a simple chart. There was no punishment or rebuking if he failed to meet the desired outcomes, just a promised reward if he did. It took more than 3 months to see any change at all. I was frankly worried, but teacher was endlessly patient. So each day he'd hand over the chart, no progress, we'd simply remark on it, remind him of the goal and promised reward, and move on.

Then, suddenly, everything just seemed to snap into place. He got it, figured out what he needed to do and go sufficient awareness to be able to meet the goals. Reward given, problem solved, w/o unnecessary suffering or badgering.

I found the system worked well with similar problems that are unconscious habits w/o an underlying problem (learning disability, etc.). But I found many teachers, unlike the lovely 1st gr teacher, really didn't understand well how conditioning works. They would either define problem behaviors too vaguely ("being disruptive" or "needs to learn to behave") or have too many things they want to work on at once. Often they would fail to recognize progress on a key marker because they were annoyed by some other behavior.

Used rightly and under the right circumstances, it can be a blessing that teaches children self-control in a gentle way and gives them mastery over their behavior and choices. Used incorrectly or for the wrong sorts of things (especially if used for behaviors that are really outside child's control) it can indeed be abusive.

my 2 cents.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Adeodatus
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When people complain about their families, I always want to ask, "Well then, why are they still part of your life?"

It's only social convention - and perhaps a fear of being alone - that says we have to stick together with our families. If your friends pissed you off that much, would you still call them your friends?

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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mark_in_manchester

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quote:
Just how much antipathy towards Family is one allowed...just how much abuse is one required to bear from family
Allowed and required - by social convention, God, one's family (the object of our antipathy), ourselves...who? And if we develop antipathy, or stop being willing to bear abuse, to what end do we do this and in what direction do we move?

I've found the pointers to narcissistic parental behaviour very enlightening on these threads, both in terms of illuminating my upbringing, and in explaining some of my own behaviour/anger to myself.

Personally, I think I've gone from accepting the projection of others' nasty shit onto me as a scapegoat (leading to my inner depression / despair) to violent rejection of same (and hence my inner rage / wrath). Both have been very bad for me, in different ways.

I'm starting to think about my desire to **stop** others projecting onto me like this, in terms of my own narcissistic need to control those around me and protect my crippled inner self.

Actually, I might not be that crippled, and I might be able to move to polite disagreement. This will have no effect on the family whatsoever, but hey, so what. That these are new thoughts for me is somewhat embarrassing [Hot and Hormonal] , but hey, I've not such a pressing narcissistic need to hide my embarrassment before you, have I? [Big Grin]

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Lilac
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I don't hate my mum, but I can't feel a proper relationship with her. The reason: she used to spank me when I was little. But it wasn't the spanking which I feel was abusive, it was the calculating Pavlovian attitude behind it.

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Seeking...

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Kelly Alves

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
When people complain about their families, I always want to ask, "Well then, why are they still part of your life?"

It's only social convention - and perhaps a fear of being alone - that says we have to stick together with our families. If your friends pissed you off that much, would you still call them your friends?

It is very difficult for a person who percieves themselves as being rejected by parents/ family to believe that anyone else will accept them. Thus, you try your damndest to fix the relationships that are supposed to be your rightful inheritance-- they are family, right?-- because how the hell can you convince yourself that anyone would choose to accept you if they weren't required to?

Overcoming that does take the deep mourning people keep talking about, and a faith that requires you to believe that it is possible for you to experience things you have never experienced in your family of origin--acceptance, belonging, comeraderie. To say that is a tall order is an understatement.

In short, people often make this deal with the devil-- they will struggle with impossible family (or friendship!) relationships rather than risking the chance of being alone.

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

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Adeodatus
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That's the worst part of it in some ways, Kelly - an abusive relationship often comes with the footnote "and by the way, nobody else will have you".

Perhaps it's something to do with growing up as a gay man, long before present-day social acceptance, in a time when you expected hostility, but I (and many people I know) took the old saying about being able to choose your friends but not your family, and we said, "No. I get to choose my family, too." No matter how much it hurt.

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
When people complain about their families, I always want to ask, "Well then, why are they still part of your life?"

It's only social convention - and perhaps a fear of being alone - that says we have to stick together with our families. If your friends pissed you off that much, would you still call them your friends?

Its different. I can't imagine not being part of my family. Its just completely different from friends. Even if you had to lose contact with them you'd always have them in you. It would be like an amputation. Never escape from a ghost limb.

I dream about my childhood or teenage home and my parents and brother and sister. as much as I dream about anything else. Far more than about friends or even the place I have lived for the past twenty years or more. The family I was brought up with is part of the construction of my mind. Even if I didn't like them (and I do) I could no more get rid of them from my personality than a building can get rid of its foundations or the bricks its made of.

Funny thing about dreams. Ages are all mixed up. Me and my brother usually seem to be grown in my dreams - though younger than we are now. Our younger sister sometimes and sometimes not though. But our parents the age they were when we were in our teens (and the house we are in most often the one we lived in then as well). But my daughter who wasn't born then and is now adult typically seems a young child.

Family and childhood home isn't what I dream about most. But it's very common. Possibly even every day. Always there I the mind. Like my home town, which will always be my home town, and always part of the structure of my mind, whether I live there or not.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Kelly Alves

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Oh, I definitely think the "coming out" process is a brilliant model for general self-acceptance. Some people have to come out as gay, some people simply have to come out themselves.

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

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Belle Ringer
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Sometimes a person has to divorce one or both parents. Or a sibling. Maybe even a child?

Not seek "revenge," but separate from and move on.

Or maybe just emotionally divorce, don't totally leave their life but regard the other as a mere acquaintance, someone from whom you expect nothing (a mere acquaintance owes you nothing), you don't wish them any harm, you'll do an occasional favor but within limits you set, like do one or two errands a month, not 5 a day. Don't expect gratitude.

I'm in a psych course on line where the prof said 1% of the population is psychopathic - normal people in almost every way but no empathy, no interest in anyone else, only in themselves. Doesn't phase them a bit if they hurt you, might even do it intentionally if there's no reason not to. They truly have no interest in anyone but themselves - not their spouse, not their child, not their lifelong friend.

If one of these people is your parent or other family member, they don't care about you, they only pretend to for their own benefit.

Often intelligent and charming. Often successful in business. A significantly higher percentage of CEOs than general population are psychopaths. (Most are not murderers, they are just expert manipulators.)

Love them - at a safe distance. Or leave them if loving them is doing no one any good but just destroying you. Do You Live With A Psychopath? and top ten jobs that attract psychopaths (I'm surprised to see clergy on the list!)

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Hairy Biker
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
When people complain about their families, I always want to ask, "Well then, why are they still part of your life?"

It's only social convention - and perhaps a fear of being alone - that says we have to stick together with our families. If your friends pissed you off that much, would you still call them your friends?

Well there's this thing called commitment. When we promise before God to be part of one another's lives for the rest of our natural, you have to make some effort before calling it a day. And if you've brought children into this world then you have a responsibility to see them on their own two feet emotionally speaking before you go moving the goal-posts and saying you don't want them in your life any more. I know it's quite trendy in the western world to view independence from these commitments as a right, but it has cost my children dearly and the scars will last through all our lives.

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there [are] four important things in life: religion, love, art and science. At their best, they’re all just tools to help you find a path through the darkness. None of them really work that well, but they help.
Damien Hirst

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Kelly Alves

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I really don't think Adeodatus was talking about parents leaving their families.

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

In other words, one reason that we can't let go of the hatred/guilt/fear etc., is that it means letting go of that person.

So it's a kind of negative attachment. Well, I am convinced this does happen with some people, and it actually relates to the idea of mourning. Without the hatred/guilt, some people feel quite bereft.

And it can feel a bit like winning a race against an imaginary opponent. Or beating the time of a long dead runner.

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I put on my rockin' shoes in the morning
Hallellou, hallellou

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Tortuf
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The family plays an important part in forming the child.

The child is a part of the family and absorbs bits of attitude and behavior from the child's family at levels the child and the family may never fully understand or appreciate.

So, when you are intolerant with your family and reject them, you are rejecting a part of yourself.

There is always accepting one's family for who they are and then accepting one's self for who you are. There is a freedom in accepting that your family members are who they are and at the same time not letting their behavior unduly affect you. Your serenity need not (should not) depend on anyone other then yourself and God as you understand God.

Do families sometimes do horrible things? Unfortunately, yes. If they do, by all means remove yourself physically. Remove yourself emotionally in that you do not depend on them for making your life better or whole. Do understand that accepting them for who they are without judging them can actually increase your serenity while judging them and regarding them with negative emotion will decrease your serenity.

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Barnabas62
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I found the concept of managing family relations helpful. If you know that a family tie has produced a relationship with some toxicity in it, outright confrontation can either kill the toxicity or drag other family members into it.

Particularly with older family members, who grew up in a different time with different values, this approach can have a lot of pay-off. Sometimes you have to confront to get the shackles off, or get someone out of your face. Boundary issues have moved these days. Some folks from previous generations used to think that "Honour your father and your mother" gave them enduring rights of interference. Some folks still do. And on matters of sexual identity, I think there is very little option, though timing is probably important.

But there are lower level irksome issues which can be managed without confrontation. I've found the approach is good for my tolerance levels; expectations are reduced, become more realistic somehow.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Taliesin
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quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
Oh, I definitely think the "coming out" process is a brilliant model for general self-acceptance. Some people have to come out as gay, some people simply have to come out themselves.

brilliant. i'm quoting that everywhere.
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Arabella Purity Winterbottom

Trumpeting hope
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My dad died when I was 27, having not had a conversation with me for about 9 years (he didn't take too well to me coming out). I visited regularly, and have, and always have had, a great relationship with my mum. Dad would simply pretend I wasn't in the house, quite a feat if I was staying for several days.

I never really hated him, more felt that he was a man of very few emotional skills. When my brother and I were growing up, his favourite saying was "one boy is worth six girls." Even so, when I was little I adored him. He started to struggle with me when I became a teenager, goodness knows why, I was exceptionally well behaved!

When Dad died, I had a major dilemma. Obviously, it is hard to find a way to reconcile with someone who is dead (and believe me, I had been trying to reconcile well before, but his principles were like cement). As my mum and I looked through all the thousands of photos he had taken, we came across two of him giving me my first recorder lesson (he was a music teacher). I would have been about 4, and his big right hand covered my tiny hand and he is bending round me to show me how to put my fingers down. In the next photo, I am standing front on to the camera, recorder in mouth, fingers firmly on the holes, with a big grin.

From looking at the photos I was able to begin to access the love that he had for me as a small child. It took another couple of years and some counselling, but eventually I came to a place where I could see what he had given me, and what there is of him in me.

I don't know if this is completely relevant, but it feels as though it might be.

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Hell is full of the talented and Heaven is full of the energetic. St Jane Frances de Chantal

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que sais-je
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
It's only social convention - and perhaps a fear of being alone - that says we have to stick together with our families. If your friends pissed you off that much, would you still call them your friends?

I doubt it's 'only social convention'. I feel anger towards my mother and step-father, their life pissed me off. They were so worried about the future that they saved and almost never spent. I look back to the things we didn't do (like holidays), the making do and mending, not having all the stuff my friends had, never having friends (mine or theirs) to stay. I accepted it when I was young, believing them to be very hard up. Throughout my adult life I visited regularly, bought them treats, got them household good they said they couldn't afford.

Now they are old and I am responsible for their finances. They have over £500,000 in savings and had paid off the mortgage on the house within five years of marrying. They could have afforded the things we bought them and all our lives could have been very different.

I don't begrudge the money I spent - it did at least mean they had some home comforts but I am angry at two sad lives and I do feel cheated.

So what do I do? Just walk away? They did their best and, objectively, it was pathetic but they were, I realise, both marginal people unable to cope with much life. Is it just convention that I hide my anger and don't abandon them now they are old and frail?

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"controversies, disputes, and argumentations, both in philosophy and in divinity, if they meet with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the laws of charity" (Thomas Browne)

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Panda
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# 2951

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quote:
Originally posted by Belle Ringer:
Sometimes a person has to divorce one or both parents. Or a sibling. Maybe even a child?

Not seek "revenge," but separate from and move on.

Or maybe just emotionally divorce, don't totally leave their life but regard the other as a mere acquaintance, someone from whom you expect nothing (a mere acquaintance owes you nothing), you don't wish them any harm, you'll do an occasional favor but within limits you set, like do one or two errands a month, not 5 a day. Don't expect gratitude.

I'm in a psych course on line where the prof said 1% of the population is psychopathic - normal people in almost every way but no empathy, no interest in anyone else, only in themselves. Doesn't phase them a bit if they hurt you, might even do it intentionally if there's no reason not to. They truly have no interest in anyone but themselves - not their spouse, not their child, not their lifelong friend.

If one of these people is your parent or other family member, they don't care about you, they only pretend to for their own benefit.

Often intelligent and charming. Often successful in business. A significantly higher percentage of CEOs than general population are psychopaths. (Most are not murderers, they are just expert manipulators.)

Love them - at a safe distance. Or leave them if loving them is doing no one any good but just destroying you. Do You Live With A Psychopath? and top ten jobs that attract psychopaths (I'm surprised to see clergy on the list!)

I think the word 'Sociopath' is used interchangeably with this definition: M E Thomas' A Life in Plain Sight defines him/herself that way.

The definition absolutely fits my older sister. She rent the family apart a year ago when her 10-month affair with an old family friend was discovered by her husband, and therefore her steady lies all that time to protect herself also came clear. She swore it was over, that she was sorry for the hurt caused to us, and the considerable damage done to his family.

It's all lies, because she's ended up practically stalking him, making up stories that she got pregnant and miscarried three times in four months, harassing him to leave him wife and emigrate to be with her when he's desperately trying to rebuild with his wife.

The lies that have gone on to support all this are continuous, and each time one is detected and she is challenged she clings harder to the other lies that prop up the first one, even though they're now ridiculous.

She has no empathy with anyone she's hurt, and no understanding that anyone else could possibly be as clever, as gifted and completely deserving of love and happiness as she is; her love is utterly unique and therefore it doesn't matter what wreckage and misery is created, as long as she gets what she wants.

I've come to the conclusion, after some research and reflection on 39 years of similar behaviour, that her brain is constructed differently, and she will never really be capable of real change.
I can talk about forgiveness, but the fact is I doubt I will ever trust her again with anything important, or take more than a passing interest in her life. I need to protect my mother from her, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms. I don't hate her, but I am under no illusion that a normal sibling relationship is possible.

So in answer to the op, I've reached the limit of the quantity of shit I'm willing to put up with from her. She may become an occasionally friendly acquaintance, but that's it. I haven't actually spoken to her in a month since I called her on the most recent pack of lies.

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quetzalcoatl
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que sais-je? wrote:

So what do I do? Just walk away? They did their best and, objectively, it was pathetic but they were, I realise, both marginal people unable to cope with much life. Is it just convention that I hide my anger and don't abandon them now they are old and frail?

No, I don't think it's convention. They did do something for you, despite the stuff they didn't do. There is still something about honouring one's parents, unless they are out and out villains.

I used to wince when clients of mine went hell for leather at their parents for all their deficits. I could understand it, but I used to wonder if it would actually have any good results. Maybe it can make things worse.

I used to be so glad that I didn't have to give advice, although I would caution people as to the possible consequences.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Belle Ringer
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
que sais-je? wrote:

They did their best and, objectively, it was pathetic but they were, I realise, both marginal people unable to cope with much life.

They did do something for you, despite the stuff they didn't do. There is still something about honouring one's parents, unless they are out and out villains.

All parents are flawed, deeply flawed, as we all are.

But I hesitate to say in 100% of cases "they did something for you." Some birthed and reared you for themselves - like to take care of them in old age.

Two thoughts -

1. Honor those who parented you, which may be biological parents, or adoptive parents, or someone unrelated who valued you and gave you encouragement to believe in yourself. Maybe later you can extend this honor to more parents including the ones who were damaging, but start with honoring those who truly cared for you. Recognizing and appreciating them helps you see ways you were nurtured even if in fleeting moments like with a school teacher or a friend's Mom, which helps reduce the anger at other parents.

2. Don't bury anger. Acknowledge it, but direct it at God who gave you those parents. Work through it with God. God can take it, and you don't risk saying or doing something that destroys any hope of improved relationship with the humans involved.

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Penny S
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quote:
But I hesitate to say in 100% of cases "they did something for you." Some birthed and reared you for themselves - like to take care of them in old age.
I know one who has been quite open about that in talking of their offspring.
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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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Que sais-je: I was raised like that, and I'm a bit like it myself. I'm guessing a bit, but I think a 1930s welfare-state-free childhood followed by wartime, rationing and postwar austerity did that to quite a few of my rellies. I don't know if that timing works out in your case. For me, it's a bit like dieting - if I get into cream buns, who knows if I'll be able to get the genie of contented self-denial back in the bottle - to mix the metaphor horribly.

I'm trying to teach my kids to be contented with not much, but we splash out here and there, perhaps more than my folks could bring themselves to. I want their pleasure button to get pressed when we splash out on fish and chips, or a train ride just for a trip out for its own sake. So far they're happy, but they're young.

And how you feel for them now? Well, they were cautious enough to not present themselves as a financial burden on you. That must count for something.

cheers

Mark

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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My in-laws, who I met when I was 20 were far better parents than mine ever were. I did the eulogies at their funerals and I think of them most days. The anger at my own parents for abandoning us - they moved to another country to retire and built a house without guest rooms - changed to disappointment over the years. They never knew their grandchildren except as casual acquaintances. Although he didn't deserve my time, effort and expenses, I rescued my father after my mother died, got him some medical care and now babysit him. Should I have bothered? I wonder sometimes. He denies the daily physical violence meted out when I was a child, and all of his conversation is still self centred. -- My point is that you have to live with yourself, and those you actually do love, and live with integrity. I think that integrity involves being authentic with your feelings, but also being tactful and not openning yourself to further hurt. For me to get to this, well, it took some excellent clergy conversations and some good therapy, both of which were briefer than I anticipated. Probably I will do his eulogy as well. The bastard.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
I really don't think Adeodatus was talking about parents leaving their families.

Absolutely not. Parents have a duty of care towards their children until the children are able to look after themselves. But if they fail in that duty, I don't see how we can say that the child has a duty towards the parent.

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Chesterbelloc

Tremendous trifler
# 3128

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quote:
Originally posted by Belle Ringer:
Don't bury anger. Acknowledge it, but direct it at God who gave you those parents. Work through it with God. God can take it, and you don't risk saying or doing something that destroys any hope of improved relationship with the humans involved.

I understand where you're coming from here, Belle, but a serious word of warning: think very carefully before you deliberately place an obstacle between yourself and God. God may have "given" you these parents, but God the Father is a parent by distance from whom we cannnot gain anything good.

Ceratinly, God can "take" such transference, but we seldom can. I think we have all known people whose relationships with God and/or the family of the Church have been horribly and permanently impaired by directing anger at Him for the "sins of their fathers".

We need God and all His gifts - always. But perhaps especially when our birth parents and siblings have been least "there" for us. Even if we cannot find it in ourselves to honour them because of their failings, how can it help us to fail to honour the one parent who never can or will fail us?

[ 30. January 2014, 22:21: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]

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"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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que sais-je
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# 17185

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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
I was raised like that, and I'm a bit like it myself. I'm guessing a bit, but I think a 1930s welfare-state-free childhood followed by wartime, rationing and postwar austerity did that to quite a few of my rellies. I don't know if that timing works out in your case.

Very much the same. Like you I take after them though I fight against it. Good luck with the kids - frugality combined with random pleasures has much to recommend it.

Well, they were cautious enough to not present themselves as a financial burden on you. That must count for something.

I wasn't very clear in my first post. I do appreciate all they did for me. My anger is about why they continued to pretend to poverty. Maybe once every few years they could have said "Why don't we pay for the meal this time?", or "It's OK, we can afford a new TV". It's feeling you are being used and lied to by your parents that's painful. We could afford what we bought them and were happy to do it, that doesn't bother me, it's suddenly discovering they had misrepresented their situation to us (which, I appreciate, isn't how they might have seen things).

I just wish they could have had happier and more fulfilling lives.

Belle Ringer Thanks also for your thoughts, though it would be a bit unfair for me to start believing in God just to get angry with Her. And I have been very lucky in being loved.

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"controversies, disputes, and argumentations, both in philosophy and in divinity, if they meet with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the laws of charity" (Thomas Browne)

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Belle Ringer
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Belle Ringer:
Don't bury anger. Acknowledge it, but direct it at God

I understand where you're coming from here, Belle, but a serious word of warning: think very carefully before you deliberately place an obstacle between yourself and God.
Valid warning. I guess better to say different people need to approach things differently.

Important to find a way to face truth and deal with it, and that includes the truth of who they are, which in most cases is "deeply flawed as are we all", and also the truth of how valuable and likeable and valid you are no matter what your parents said. Somehow move beyond any negative or limiting effect they had on you.

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Chesterbelloc

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Absolutely agreed, Belle.

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"[A] moral, intellectual, and social step below Mudfrog."

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Huia
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# 3473

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Some years back I realized (in the context of my attitude to the man who raped me) that hating other people didn't really do me any good, but it took until I also realized that it was counterproductive in that it also didn't do them any harm, for me to work on not hating.

Huia - a work in process

[ 31. January 2014, 06:21: Message edited by: Huia ]

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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quote:
Maybe once every few years they could have said "Why don't we pay for the meal this time?", or "It's OK, we can afford a new TV".
I know what you mean. If I can generalise from my case to yours, I'm not sure we were lied to, but the statement they made was ambiguous; "we can't afford it" referred to a currency of healthy inner confidence and hope for the future, rather than hard cash. Mine certainly had very little of that to spare.

On the bright side, I've ended up materially
content with nary a new car or UPVC conservatory in sight. Can't keep off ebay, mind.

And Huia - I got that hating people was chewing me up, but yes - its total lack of impact on them!! Lord help me to be less of a self-destructive nob

[Votive]

[ 31. January 2014, 09:38: Message edited by: mark_in_manchester ]

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Ethne Alba
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# 5804

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Most people can cope with Most parents
(with counselling, boundaries, help, prayers support and understanding from everyone around)

However Some people should never be around Some parents, no matter what.
(even with all the above in place)

I guess the trick is to work out if one is in that tiny minority who truly do need to walk away.

And I guess the key for the rest of us is to understand and support, while not always being privy to all the information.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Ethne Alba:
Most people can cope with Most parents
(with counselling, boundaries, help, prayers support and understanding from everyone around)

However Some people should never be around Some parents, no matter what.
(even with all the above in place)

I guess the trick is to work out if one is in that tiny minority who truly do need to walk away.

And I guess the key for the rest of us is to understand and support, while not always being privy to all the information.

I agree that a small number of people probably need to be totally separate from their parents. However, I think there is then a kind of gradation, towards people who get on well with their parents.

I mean, it's not black and white. There are people who need to move a few hundred miles away, or a few thousand, and see their parents once a year; some people can tolerate it three times a year, and so on.

Obviously, there is no recipe either which you can apply. People have to work it out for themselves, although it probably helps to talk about it!

Just before going to see my parents, I would have a kind of limbering up period, when I would go through various angry scenes, remonstrations, idiotic reproaches, and so on, in my head, and then when I got there, I could usually be quite pleasant. But I could only manage this about twice a year, otherwise it became just too wearing. Of course, I felt guilty about all this!

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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quote:
when I would go through various angry scenes, remonstrations, idiotic reproaches, and so on, in my head
Hey Q - not looking for free therapy here (no, really [Big Grin] ) - but I do this, trying to scope out what might be coming, and it invariably drives me into a total rage as I present myself with loads of worst-case stuff which, you know, might happen, but then again...

I thought mental health might lay in the direction of not doing this. Or in trying to build a sense that if this stuff comes, then it comes, and I'm unchanged by it so it's OK.

What do you reckon?

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
quote:
when I would go through various angry scenes, remonstrations, idiotic reproaches, and so on, in my head
Hey Q - not looking for free therapy here (no, really [Big Grin] ) - but I do this, trying to scope out what might be coming, and it invariably drives me into a total rage as I present myself with loads of worst-case stuff which, you know, might happen, but then again...

I thought mental health might lay in the direction of not doing this. Or in trying to build a sense that if this stuff comes, then it comes, and I'm unchanged by it so it's OK.

What do you reckon?

Yes, it conflicts with the ideal scenario, where you have successfully worked through all the stuff about pa and ma, and are able to serenely plan a visit, with no anxiety or rage, and arrive there serenely also, and so on.

However, life tends to diverge from the ideal, I think.

In my case, it's just a strategy that I realized worked pretty well, since when I got there, I had already gone through the fantasies that I was having, and so could actually be there in a reasonable state.

To say that I shouldn't be having fantasies about pa and ma - well, I think that's going into science fiction. Humans do that quite a lot, and it can be useful.

It's better than acting out the fantasies when you arrive!

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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BessLane
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quote:
Originally posted by Ethne Alba:
Most people can cope with Most parents
(with counselling, boundaries, help, prayers support and understanding from everyone around)

However Some people should never be around Some parents, no matter what.
(even with all the above in place)

I guess the trick is to work out if one is in that tiny minority who truly do need to walk away.

And I guess the key for the rest of us is to understand and support, while not always being privy to all the information.

Thank you for saying this. My husband was very much in the "she's your mamma, you gotta love her" school of thought. It wasn't until after I was diagnosed with PTSD and began the long difficult task of learning to cope with it that he began to realize that my relationship with my family, or lack thereof, was not my being petty and bull-headed but rather was a survival mechanism for me.

There's only a very small number of people who know my whole story. I regularly deal with well-meaning questions about my family, comments about how hard it must be for me to be so far away from them, etc. There's often a hint of judgement behind these remarks, and it can be painful.

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It's all on me and I won't tell it.
formerly BessHiggs

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Lamb Chopped
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My husband felt tge same, and it was only after years of observation that he began to realize why it was necessary for me to armor myself in so many defensive layers before family interaction.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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rolyn
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When mum was in poor health, and maybe realising there wasn't a lot of time left she said something a little odd to me . It had been said to her and regarded as something of a wisdom -- "When your parents are dead it becomes possible to forgive them".
This seemed strnage because I'd always regarded my childhood as reasonably happy without any clear or obvious abuse. Yet the longer time goes on, and I reflect on the past, the more that statement starts to make sense .

Hate is such a powerful and potentially destructive emotion it's not something to be dabbled with for no good reason IMO .
However, as I think Kelly puts it better than me above , the inward acknowledgement of possible feelings of antipathy towards family members , esp. parents, is important when it comes to discerning one's own attitudes, motives , and indeed one's true self.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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justlooking
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ISTM it's not just about parents and it's not just about blame/forgiveness. Anyone brought up with siblings will have had a place in a family dynamic involving people who are contemporaries. Parents may have died but any remaining brothers and sisters will continue to be influenced by patterns set in childhood.

On the 'Anxiety' thread I posted about my own experience of being a child with what is now called selective mutism. This was in the 1950's and in a working class household. These days any child with such a disorder would have professional help but I had only mockery and criticism. I didn't know other people had this problem - I thought it was just me and that I had somehow been born 'wrong' and it was my fault. This was also the attitude my siblings were raised with. So I was always the 'wrong' one, always at fault, always somehow 'less than' them and deserving less. They weren't to blame of course, they were children too, but it doesn't alter the fact that they've grown up with a belief about themselves which sets them always above me.

These days I have very little contact with my brother and I try to regulate contact with my sister. I don't feel any antipathy, I just want to protect myself. This isn't only my perception, it's been confirmed by outsiders. The first person who made me aware was an aunt who took me out for a treat when I was about five or six and who told me, very unwisely I suppose, that she wanted my brother and sister to see me having something more than them for once. She told me "middle children get neglected" and explained this by saying whenever there was anything going I was always the last - my brother and and sister came before me every time. The last person to say anything along these lines was a nurse at the hospice where my mother died - she'd seen something of how we were as a family I suppose. These kind of comments have always surprised me - I suppose I've always felt 'less than' when I'm around certain people and this is my normality.

[ 01. February 2014, 17:05: Message edited by: justlooking ]

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