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Family & weirdness
Old 07-25-2009, 08:04 PM   #1
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Family & weirdness

Anyone else not communicated with family for several years, then done so and remembered why not?
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:12 PM   #2
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I am in the camp of not having much to do with my family.

I have one sister I have not communicated with for 7 years, no disagreement with her, but I just have nothing in common with her. My mother, might see for lunch once every 3 years or so, but I always leave glad that I don't see her regularly. She is one of those people who is a victim and does nothing but complain so I choose not to join her pity parties.

The way I look at it, it these relationships are an accident of birth, and I choose to spend my time with people I actually like.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:26 PM   #3
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Anyone else not communicated with family for several years, then done so and remembered why not?
The family into which I was born is a little dysfunctional and I can sympathize.

The thing is, there are strong (albeit ambivalent) feelings for family members that run really deep within a person even if you don't communicate with them. So in my opinion it is probably best to stay civil, keep at least 1,000 miles between you and them, and at least call on Christmas. Anything more will drive you batty. Anything less, and you may feel a void in your life.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:48 PM   #4
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I am in the camp of not having much to do with my family.

I have one sister I have not communicated with for 7 years, no disagreement with her, but I just have nothing in common with her. My mother, might see for lunch once every 3 years or so, but I always leave glad that I don't see her regularly. She is one of those people who is a victim and does nothing but complain so I choose not to join her pity parties.

The way I look at it, it these relationships are an accident of birth, and I choose to spend my time with people I actually like.
I talked to my sister in Dec '03, before Mother died. I reestablished contact in May '09.

I realized I had nothing in common with these people other than birth.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:53 PM   #5
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Khan, I had the same realisation as you, besides the birth aspect what was there to connect us. Even my husband is convinced that my parents took the wrong baby home from the hospital, only problem being I was the only baby there.

I don't even feel the need to call at Christmas. Life is too short to spend it being false and pretending things are hunky-dory when they are not. They do their thing, I do mine and I really don't feel any loss in my life for having no contact.

Interestingly enough I have been questioning my non-need for family members asking myself if I am missing out on something. I come from a large extended family - 38 first cousins, only 2 of which I am in contact with. When I started going thru the list I realised there are probably another 3 I am going to make more effort with as we are actually similar, however the other 33 I don't even know these people or care to know them.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:56 PM   #6
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I have plenty in common with them, but it doesn't change the fact that more often than not I end up annoyed (to enraged) after significant contact with most of my family and some of my in-laws these days.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:58 PM   #7
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I'm sorry to see so many who are not close to family. My sibs, my niece, a cousin and I are very close, though very different. I talk to at least one of them everyday. I can't imagine being anything other than close to them. It's love, duty, and a whole host of other things that tie us together forever. A degree of respect for each one's foibles, (which are extensive ) keeps us from falling apart.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:05 PM   #8
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I realized I had nothing in common with these people other than birth.
Me too Khan. Sometimes when I go back to visit my mother (about every 3-4 years), I get the feeling that I forgot my passport.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:05 PM   #9
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I'm sorry to see so many who are not close to family. My sibs, my niece, a cousin and I are very close, though very different. I talk to at least one of them everyday. I can't imagine being anything other than close to them. It's love, duty, and a whole host of other things that tie us together forever. A degree of respect for each one's foibles, (which are extensive ) keeps us from falling apart.
Believe me, I feel much guilt that I sometimes (increasingly) keep my distance of some some siblings and my parents. It frustrates me tremendously. But this has gradually become necessary for self-preservation. My family's and my needs and wishes are rarely respected, so feeding us into the aggravation machine constantly out of a sense of duty just breeds resentment. So I am not all that happy about the outcome (somewhat strained and distant relations at times), but I cannot seem to come up with anything better.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:18 PM   #10
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Like Martha I feel sorry for people not close to their family . I love my crazy dysfunctional family . Sometime they make me want to scream but I know they are there for me.
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:15 PM   #11
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Tolstoy says in Anna Karenina, one of my favorite novels, that happy families are all alike and unhappy families are unhappy in their own way. Or something like that. Plenty of fruits and nuts on my family tree and also on my late husband's side. Maybe even more there. I keep in touch with almost everyone at least superficially, but my only surviving aunt is my favorite of the lot. Love my son of course, but he is busy with his life so we get together a couple of times a year, e-mail regularly. My only sister in LA....well....suffice it to say, she could have a starring role on Housewives of Orange County. I plan to visit her in the fall but will stay in a nearby B & B to keep my sanity. I adore her daughter, however, who wisely moved to her own place years ago.
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:41 PM   #12
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In a thread I started about family living in town, I think I bragged about how close we were with many siblings from both sides living in the same metropolitan area.

Well, one of my brothers turned into a ranting raving liberal, and yes, even long after the election outcome, he would not stop cursing and blaming Bush and the Republicans for every problem this country faces. Good grief!

Though I considered myself a centrist and should not care, I couldn't stand it, and had to walk away (there are very few politicians that I hate - I simply do not love any of them, none, zero). After two such recent family get-togethers, which I used to enjoy, I told my wife that I started to think otherwise. It is sad, and I really do not want to feel that way.

PS. A Libertarian friend of mine has the same problem with his siblings, whom he calls ultra-liberals. In family gatherings, they attacked the other side, and with him being a non-Democrat, he said somehow he ended up single-handedly defending Bush. After a few heated "discussions" with fist pounding on the dinner table and yelling and red faces, I asked how they still invited him. He said he didn't know. I think they needed another side in order to have a debate, and lured him into it. I told my wife it was the same with my brother, and I must resist...
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:01 PM   #13
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Anyone else not communicated with family for several years, then done so and remembered why not?
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I talked to my sister in Dec '03, before Mother died. I reestablished contact in May '09.
I realized I had nothing in common with these people other than birth.
Heck yeah. My father, and my brother, and spouse's parents.

We were all pretty dysfunctional growing up, and today we kids would've been diagnosed with the "obstinate defiant disorder" syndrome of teen rebellion. It was a combination of 1960's dad-on-travel stay-at-home-mom parenting... and alcohol. We drove each other nuts. No communications or negotiations skills. We came together briefly when my mother was dying of cancer but then drifted apart again. These days I'll reach out with birthday/holiday cards and grandchild/niece updates but there's no reciprocation. I guess I'm going through the motions so that our kid knows something about her grandfather/uncle.

Spouse was raised in a similar family situation where nobody talked about what was going on, let alone about thoughts or feelings. Same type of parenting that I had only worse. Her dad has dozens of stories about wholesome family fun, and then later spouse tells me what was really going on. Her parents make no effort to stay in touch with her, although they e-mail their (only) grandkid fairly regularly. Every time spouse calls her parents (they never call her) she's amazed at their self-centered behavior. It's all about them, never a "So how are you?" Same deal with the holiday cards and grandchild updates. Spouse really only calls them because it makes her feel better about her karma. I talk/e-mail with my BIL more than with my immediate family, and more than spouse talks with him.

We can choose our friends. Can't choose our families.

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I'm sorry to see so many who are not close to family.
It's love, duty, and a whole host of other things that tie us together forever. A degree of respect for each one's foibles, (which are extensive ) keeps us from falling apart.
In our families our parents worked more along the lines of "I love you, dammit, and if you love me then you'll do this for me..." Lots of authoritarian dictates and longstanding sibling rivalry with no real understanding of why or effective attempts to ameliorate it. It took us decades to figure out what was going on during our childhoods and how to deal with it.

At this stage in our lives we're pretty much just waiting for the parental phone call announcing that they're no longer capable of caring for themselves. Everyone seems to be in pretty good health, so we're not sure who's going first...
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:19 PM   #14
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I have a very close knit family. I spend several hours on the phone with my parents and sister each week and make the 9000-mile trek to go visit them at least once or twice a year. I also make a point to see each and every one of my aunts, uncles and cousins while I am there. My family is like a clan. Do they sometimes get on my nerves? Heck yes. Do we have our share of dysfunctionalities? Absolutely. But I'll do anything for them and they for me. They are, with my wife, the most important people in my life.
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:45 PM   #15
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This disconnect goes way beyond anyone getting on anyone's nerves. It goes way deeper.

I am close with one of my sisters, I usually speak with her every week and visit her every year. We have nothing in common, however we have always been there for each other, I think due in large part to us having common memories of our childhood. I would do anything for her and she would do anything for me.

However, other siblings any contacts usually involve them wanting money from us. Same with ILs. Only time we ever heard from them was if there was a bill they wanted us to pay for them or they had some other request from us. No family members outside of my sister and DH's sister ever bother calling us or emailing us. I don't think I have had a christmas card from any other family member in the past 20 years or even so much as a call or card on my birthday.

So as you can see it's not that they get on my nerves, but there is just no connection with them. Our lives are such polar opposites that we have nothing in common and nothing to talk about.
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:02 AM   #16
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I am close with one sister, the other sister I talk to maybe once a year at Christmas, and I haven't talked to my bro for several years, although I see his posts on facebook and he sees mine. I really want to be able to see these two a little more often, but I refuse to stay in their homes for a variety of reasons. I've been talking about wanting an RV/trailer on another thread...this is one of the reasons I want one. If I spend the effort to drive 1500 miles to see one of these two, and the visit goes sour, I want to be able to kindly and gently leave...but then move on to see the sights or do what I want to do and not waste the trip entirely...

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Old 07-26-2009, 12:04 AM   #17
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Well, my in-laws are a very different breed of people. DW only has contact with her mom, one aunt and 2 cousins. She has no contact with her dad, siblings, and the rest of her extended family. She is absolutely fine with it. It's not that they hate each other. Rather, they can't seem to relate to each other. They are like strangers bound by a common genetic material. And even though DW keeps in touch with her mom, the relation is very awkward. If I wasn't there to do most of the talking, I often wonder what they would have to say to each other. But to each its own.
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How sad
Old 07-26-2009, 12:25 AM   #18
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How sad

I grew up in what I thought was a wonderful family -- until I found out as a 45 year old that both my parents cheated on each other at various times (I'm 56 now). They did provide a wonderful life for my sister and me, and were very loving towards each other, though. Both grew up with alcoholic fathers, and my mother was also sexually abused by her own father - I had always wondered why my sister and I could never stay with him but were always at my Dad's parents (my Dad's father dried out through AA and never touched alcohol again). 13 years ago all hell broke loose when my very alcoholic sister who was jealous of me since I had a wonderful husband and two lovely kids (she was divorced) tried to destroy my entire family by bilking my husband and me out of a large sum of money with the help of a sleazy boyfriend (the 3 of us were in a small business together and even lived together -- she ran the business and had always done well for herself despite drugs and alcohol, and my kids loved her). Of course, had I known all this before we started the business, we would never have done it, but by the time I knew how she really felt, it was too late. My parents sided with her because they had always enabled and pitied her since she was alone, whereas they told me my life was perfect and I didn't need their support. Thanks to my husband and my terrific inlaws, we made it, and today I can talk to my Mom and visit infrequently, but my sister still won't talk to me or acknowledge her actions. She is a lonely and bitter person by choice. Dad died in '03. The whole mess sent me to therapy and I had a very hard time making it back, but I have forgiven my sister and parents -- I had to do it for my husband and kids and myself. But family can be SO wonderful -- I have vowed to always be close to my kids and inlaw kids and grandkids because I came so close to losing it all.
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Old 07-26-2009, 05:59 AM   #19
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Happy Birthday, bro, where ever you are.
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Old 07-26-2009, 08:12 AM   #20
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I have about a dozen or so cousins in the Buffalo, NY area that I haven't contacted in years. No animosity or anything, just nothing in common with them.

DW and I still joke about the "family weirdness" thing. When we first started dating she said she didn't want to take me to her family's Christmas party because she thought they were too weird. My response was "Okay, come to my family's Christmas Party - I'll show you weird".

True to my word, one of the distant relatives, the one who was married to my half-brother but wasn't anymore because she shot and killed him when he was trying to choke her in 1977, shows up with a son she'd had out of wedlock 23 years earlier, and who no one even knew existed and haven't seen since. That one we don't talk to much. The last time I talked to her she wanted a loan from me to pay her bankruptcy attorney's fee. I took a pass on that investment....

After that, she was no longer embarrassed by her psychotic sister and sex-obsessed BIL, married to the other sister.

DW remains very close to one sister, her brother and his daughter, her father and several cousins. I keep in touch with my two sisters, and we're going up to see them in DE in a couple of weeks.
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