The limit of your self-abuse is the limit you will tolerate from other people. Nobody hurts us worse than ourselves, therefore we make the rules up about how we are to be treated, and what we think we deserve based on the wounds we learned growing up"
No matter how you look at it, failed relationships make us feel awful! Failed FAMILY relationships? Even worse.
The way I feel shopping for something as simple as a birthday card for my mom, makes me feel like a contemptuous ogre. I open each card and decide which one is less of a lie. Is she my best friend? No. Been there always? No, again. Am I better for knowing her? I gotta say no!
The damn greeting card aisle is mocking me, reminding me of my failed family relationships!
There isn't one adult who was not affected by their childhood. It shapes and makes who we are today. When those effects are negative, it also stay with us.
If there are negative ongoing relationships it can leave us in a state of purgatory.
Hurt, abuse, dysfunction, and manipulative mind games, causes the effects to run deep. The emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical wounds stay with us, but when we let it continue, by keeping these people present (with an important role) in our lives, the pain never has a chance to heal. YOU never have a chance to heal and feel what "normal" is.
You only learn to deal with it in a more "adult" way, which typically means hiding the pain.
We work hard salvaging harmful relationships until we become a shell of a person. The need to maintain these relationships is sometimes out of survival (need to be loved) and often out of obligation since it's family.
Because of how many layers involved in family issues, we need help recognizing when enough is enough.
It's important to know there are options and we don't have to stay stuck.
Many people have to make an excruciating decision of whether or not to continue a strained family relationship- it could be a parent, a sibling, a grandparent, an aunt, a son or a daughter. Sometimes it only takes one person in the family to cause disruption beyond repair.
These relationships, when stressed or tense, are the worst to endure. Because we endure them, they are more damaging. And because there is more history with family, the damage runs deeper. Imagine what you are subconsciously saying to yourself when you tolerate abuse, and bad relationships, continuously.
If you have to walk away and cut the ties, it's usually because you feel there's no other choice. Years of discontent, even abuse, has become too much to bear.
Hey, I understand. I've been there. My mother and I are on rocky terms. And recently, I decided to make a clean break from my family-in-law. I tried, really.
There's not always a clear answer until you walk away.
I'm a problem solver by nature but there is a dysfunction in my husband's family that runs deep, and even worse involves many addictions- gambling, alcohol, abuse, etc.
The relationship between my husband and them has always been tense. The abuse is the norm, and seemingly a legacy. My husband has polished up his life and broken away from them. Since then (years ago), they treat him worse. My last straw was addressing the issues open and honestly. Silence. Denial. That told me all I need to know and my exit plan was confirmed.
If you can't get the problem family member(s) to acknowledge a problem, you might have to say goodbye. You can't solve a problem that they can't acknowledge. There isn't enough lifetime to mend things so move on.
If you have a problem, then there is a problem. Don't deny yourself the right to acknowledge your problems with a family member.
Start by evaluating the relationship:
Chances are you've been tallying up the events leading to this for a while, considering the history, and implementing various tactics to better deal. But committing to turning your back on them brings on feelings of guilt, failure, emptiness, doubt, abandonment, and even grief.
Walking away from the drama can bring on more stress and drama.
Besides having an issue with an individual in the family, it is often the case that more than one or an entire side of the family is an issue because they support one dysfunctional member or trait. Feeling ganged up on lately? In this case it's best to evaluate the situation as a whole.
If I cut ties with you, chances are you handed me the scissors.
Time for Bye-bye if:
The relationship is abusive.
You're losing sleep with declining health.
They treat anyone in your current family ( your son, daughter, spouse) badly.
The relationship is one-sided.
They insist on turning other family members against you.
They only borrow money or come around if they need something.
You're in an enabling position- of bailing this person out of trouble or getting involved in their trouble.
The only contact with them is negative. They bring you down and put you down.
Games- blame games, childish silent treatment, their way or no way.
Your decision is made. Steps you take when walking away:
1. Try it out...Less contact through calls, texts, visits and emails. When you're away from the source, you can make a clear decision without all the drama to cloud your mind.
2. Keep it neutral...if certain subjects are always an argument, then avoid them. But only if this doesn't compromise yourself.
3. Something major...Keep in contact only to announce a birth, a death, a marriage, a move, a new job.
4. Be prepared...it's difficult. Death is final and this is the death of a relationship but without the closure. The first birthdays and holidays will be rough so be prepared.
5. Have a good support system...Good friends and other family members make cutting ties easier. Focus on what you DO have.
6. Let others in the family know what is going on- your intent of cutting ties and your unmet needs. Represent your side with a fair perspective. Always follow up with how you do not expect them to pick sides, you just want their understanding.
7. Time and space- walking away, even if it seems final, doesn't always have to be final. I've seen people change and rectify lost family relationships. On the other hand, always look for familiar dysfunctional patterns when considering walking back into their life.
8. Realize you can't control someone else. You've been trying to by thinking you can mend someone else or the relationship. You can't. Take note of how you feel around the person, what gets to you most, and deal with that accordingly.
9. Time, space, and distance can be enough (after a while) to establish boundaries. Words give them ammunition to fight with you, whereas your lack of presence becomes an obvious marker of your lack of devotion to the abusive relationship.
10. Understand, and react, from your adult perspective, not your inner wounded child. We tend to handle these ties/relationships like a child because that's where the pain stems from. But as an adult, you gain a new perspective, and since childhood you've learned new coping mechanisms and problem solving skills. Utilize these.
The harsh truth of every relationship, even between those who love each other, like fathers and sons and daughters, or husbands and wives, is that the love is always unequal.”
Now that you're an adult, take refuge in the fact that some things are beyond your control. You owe it to yourself to steer clear of people who are harmful to your health.”
I'm passionate about no-nonsense self-improvement. Too many of us are plagued by faulty thought patterns- I aim to change that!