On a Positive Note : Dysfunctional Families Can Be Counted On

My dysfunctional family can be counted on. They get a gold star for this, in fact, because you can always count on them:

To take the other person's word, even if this person is the queen or king of toxicity.

To treat you in the same manner as your toxic parent did, thus dooming you to remain in this toxic family role position around them; because it is easier than learning  who you really are.

To help you realize they don't really care who you are; it's about them. So get with it already,lol.

To abandon you, or question your judgment when you need a little emotional support.

To tell lies, and hurt you emotionally if they can.

To demand your attendance at family events, despite repeated embarrassment at their hands in the past.

Expecting you to ignore it all, and make them feel successful by attending their events.

I say " The more you let it bother you, the more power you give them." But honestly, it does still hurt, and makes me question my worth on days when I'm tired. I refuse to change who I am, and will always care about my family. But in order to stop the cycle, I have to show my children that I care about myself as well. This has proven a difficult task.

I've cared for a bipolar man for 20 years. We've been married 17 .. really 18 but we've been separated since April of 08. I couldn't take the constant tearing down of my self esteem. Not really for myself, but I couldn't take my daughter seeing it. I didn't want her to feel this treatment was ok.

When he knew I'd had enough, he drained all $$ out of our accounts, stole our collections, coins and ransacked my home. He had forgotten how little material things mattered to me. When this didn't break me he kept our son, and told him I'd abandoned him. My son has Aspergers, and has difficulty understanding emotions. This caused us both a lot of pain.

My mother lost her mind after my father passed away, shortly before my marriage. She ended up dragging my three younger siblings through some horrible situations involving guns, drugs and neglect. My husband  saw this all happen. My husband used this information against me by causing my siblings to relive this horrible period of time; telling them the same things my mother had done to them,  I was now doing to my kids. This caused my entire support system to crumble; and as toxic families will do, they throw you to the wolves. You may survive, but not without being chewed up a bit in the process.

My family was so willing to believe him, even though they've used the fact that I wouldn't leave him against me for years. My sisters and mother "divulged" anything and everything they thought I "might" have done, made up lies .. and then tried to talk me into letting them raise my daughter. My mother even wrote a glowing letter about my husband, to the divorce court, saying he would be the better parent.

It was difficult to maintain a clear view of what I was doing, why I was doing it, and to remember that my goals were not only right, but necessary to achieve. At this time I am attending college, and maintaining a 4.0 gpa.  I have caring friends. My daughter is doing awesome, and has blossomed. I have survived an amazing loss, and do not feel permanently broken from it. My trust is a bit bruised. I do at times want to simply run away and start over, never to deal with them again.

But instead, I simply need to accept that my siblings will never see me for who I am. The difficult things I've survived will never be acknowledged by them, so I persevere for my kids and I.  My accomplishments in life will never change their attitudes about me. So I will continue living life for my kids and self.

Ok, I shared. I am here because recently I realized I need to permanently remove some of these people from my life.  I am here to see how others have accomplished this, and to learn from other's stories. Thanks.

pranksterbtch pranksterbtch
3 Responses Jul 25, 2009

This is my update .... almost a year later. I am still married, if you can believe that. The judge in our divorce has lied about giving my ex contempt charges, and has refused to deal with my contempt charges since December. Thanks to this, I have now lost my home. I have been a stay at home mom since 1994, and the courts have been throwing women and children off a cliff legally lately. I am aware this is bigger than just me, but wanted to let everyone know that many many women and families have been abandoned during this recession and the courts really don't care. We're all little people to them unless we're wealthy. Watching this happen was very difficult.<br />
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I have done a great job keeping those who are poisonous out of my life though. And it has really helped. I am now watching my mother use my cousins and a crazy religious fanatic of an aunt because there is inheritance money laying around and she will do what she can to get her hands on it. I have already warned them, so now it is in their court.<br />
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The courts are crooked, and need to be disbanded and rebuilt with laws that protect people and not the words in the law. Procedure is not more important than people. Let's start with the Supreme Court. <br />
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Anyway, I am now 2/3 through my associates in science degree, and still carry my 4.0. I think it's cost me a few years in life expectancy, but my grades are not something that can be taken from me, so I am careful to keep this a priority. I transfer to Oregon Institute of Technology next year, where I will finish my Renewable Energy Engineering degree, around the age of 48 lol. I love school, and I love my life despite the horrible lack of funds, family or security. <br />
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As a result of keeping my 4.0, I have just been awarded a scholarship for the cost of attendance (tuition, books,plus some living expenses) for the next three years, and into the 2nd year of graduate school if I choose to go . I am overwhelmed with relief. I was so worried about not being able to continue my schooling. The landlord of this home I live in was out of work and in fear of having to live on my land that is vacant with no water or power. This made my year to receive this award. It also brought home my constant reminders to my daughter that we will survive this and if you just keep moving forward you actually do succeed. So hang in there, and just keep moving forward in your life, as slow as you need but forward nonetheless. Peace out!

Yes, I can relate to all of the above. Once you are clear about the dynamics, you can tell yourself that it's NOT YOU. Family patterns become so entrenched, you can give up any hope of trying to change 'em. The only answer is to put some distance between you and anyone who is toxic in your life. Remember, it's your choice if you choose to stay in close proximity to people who will eventually drive you crazy. The important thing is to remember you do have a choice. Once you create distance, then you regain control of the dynamic - YOU choose how often and under what circumstances you have contact. If necessary, find excuses to stay away from family functions, or just show up for a short while and say you have to leave. Life is too short! Then you need to work at making new friends, becoming involved with people that are supportive.<br />
Most of us really want and need a functional supportive approving family. That's why we keep going back for more, even when it's just not working. When it's doing more harm to you than good, then stay away. It took me years to reconcile myself to the fact that I just didn't have a good family, and that was never going to change. I just had to leave it, let it all go, move far, far away and over time create a new family, and a new life.<br />
I'm in touch now with some relatives, but not others, and life is good....

I can relate to every single thing you have gone through, and are still dealing with. I am pushing 50 years old, and still play the same, tired, familiar role in my family. I wonder if it will ever end. To save my sanity, I am once again moving far away. <br />
Please, stand your ground and teach your children your strengths. <br />
Despite having endured a nightmare childhood, my children turned out pretty darn good, thank God. I see the same sick patterns, though, with the way my family treats my grandchildren and it's so depressing. <br />
Breaking ties is not a bad thing.....I wish I had done that with some of my family members a long time ago.