Sunday, April 06, 2008

The high road is impassable

Your family definitely has some major problems, and they're still effecting you today.

It's time for you to step back, reassess, and decide what kind of role your family should have in your life.

The people around you can be toxic, and there's no reason to let your family bring you down.

Consider getting some therapy or talking the situation over with a good friend. And spend more time around people who truly care for you!

I spotted this little test and took it and was not that surprised by the results. It has given me food for thought though. I have been feeling quite low for several months now as the events of the past couple of years have been piling up. Before I have had time to reconcile my feelings something else has come along and knocked me off my feet before I have properly got back up and dusted myself off. My separation and divorce was traumatic and then about the time by Decree Absolute came through my niece was knocked over and killed. If I ever needed the support of my family, it was over the last couple of years and yet I have received none. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. They act like nothing happened.

It got worse. After the death of my
niece, my brother launched a personal attack on me due to my choice to go away on a long needed break rather than attend my niece's funeral, even though I was at the hospital when she died. I had asked if the family would delay the funeral for one day so I could attend, but they would not. I respected this for my sister's sake but I could not afford to cancel my only break of the year. On my return I was surprised by my brothers attack and he followed this up with abusive text messages. The rest of my family told me that they didn't want to 'get involved' and I was left to deal with this extra issue on my own.

Of course this is a summary of what has gone on. Since these events my family have closed ranks against me.
Now my parents want me to apologise to my brother so that everything can return to 'normal'. If I did this I couln't face myself in the mirror and perhaps they might feel better but I know I won't. I just can't take the high road yet. It's still too raw I am not a Saint.


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

You know, I'm amazed at the number of us who have family problems.

This may be the unpopular choice, Bob-kat, but I'm going to tell you to hold to your path. Don't buckle for them. They may be family, but you deserve to be treated how YOU want to be treated.

I also am on your side about the trip. If they can't get over that, too bad for them. They are missing out on a wonderful person in you, but it's their loss.

Hugs, hugs, and more hugs. I know what you're going through.

Last Girl On Earth said...

I am SO sorry you are gong through this. At times like this, it helps so much to have support from your family. I hope that in time, you and your brother can work out your differences. He might never understand you feel, but feeling sad and angry isn't helping anyone.

Hugs to you.

R. Sherman said...

Obviously, you are not responsible for how someone else interprets your actions. I suppose if I were in your shoes, (and I have been in years past, concerning the funeral of my grandfather with whom I was very close), I would sit down and write your family an explanation. Your niece's death coming hard on the heels of your divorce put you in a place where you needed time. It was not about love or caring or making a statement. It was personal emotional survival. Whether they consider it an apology is irrelevant. You explain and ask for forgiveness if they were hurt unintentionally on your part. At that point, the ball is in their court. They either accept it or they don't. But you've done the best you can do.

Cheers, prayers and good thoughts.

Bob-kat said...

Randall, thank you for your very good advice.

My family members understand my reasons for going away. I talked to each one of them in person before I went away and explained my reasons. When I returned and my brother became abusive, I talked to my parents and two of my siblings. My parents seemed supportive, but my siblings said it was my choice but then also said that they didn't feel it was right. I couldn't win. My other brother and my sister who was the mother of my niece would not talk to me once I returned. I get the impression, though no-one will say anything that the issue is bigger. I also suspect that the grief about my niece was focused on me when I was in a vulnerable state of mind myself. I am finding it hard to forgive a family that clearly does not respect my feelings but expects me to bow to theirs. As I said, it is all still too raw for me. I do think a letter to my parents might be in order though. Thank you.

R. Sherman said...

BK, back from Michele's this time.

Perhaps your family or portions thereof are projecting. That is, it is easier for them to focus their anger about their loss on you than in dealing with it themselves. Instead of cursing God, they curse you. My only thought is that time will eventually cause them to see things differently. It did with me, although my Grandmother, God love her, understood immediately my decision and fought like the dickens to keep other family members in line.

Cheers, dear.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a horrendpus situation, B-K. I cannot believe your parents now want you to apologize to your brother. Help! (Family's and problems....OY.) And 'things returning to normal?' They will never return to whatthey were because too much has happened....!
I am so sorry you are in the middle of this family quaqmire, my dear.

I am going to take that test....THIS will be intertesting...!
I mean, if you already know your family is!

Chris said...

Hello. I'm here from Michele's. I know exactly what you're going through. I think when there is a death in an already dysfunctional family, such as mine, everything becomes magnified and feelings are projected that shouldn't be. When my brother, my only sibling died, things became even worse than they already were. It hasn't really gotten better but I've set boundaries and stick to them. It pisses everyone else off in the family, but I have to live my life for me, not them. We have to do what we have to do. You'll be okay. It hurts, but I promise, you'll be okay. Just consider me one more person on your side. You can never have too many friends, right?!

Chrissea said...

Everyone grieves differently (take it from me, I write obituaries for a living) and the brother should understand... But, I know stubborness too! Hope you all work it out, somehow.
Think I'll take that test...
Here via Michele's today.

craziequeen said...

I got 77% dysfunctional and the same results as you.

But that's not surprising, we know how much our families have in common. Selfish, self-important and brutal family members play havoc with emotions.

We talked about your trip at length at the time. Trust me, Jess would have wanted you to go.

Michele sent me to say hi, I love you and thank you for the huge amount of support from your lovely readers :-)


Bev Sykes said...

Oh that is so painful. As Susan says, it's amazing how many of us have family problems. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this,in the midst of grief too.


kenju said...

Bob-kat, I am so sorry, as I know how painful that must be. Perhaps he will calm down after a while, and if not, you simply have to follow your heart. Apologizing to keep the peace is not valuable if you do not feel apologetic!

Melody said...

Families are unreal aren't they? Usually things happen over 'petty' situations.

You had your reasonings for not attending the funeral - just because you didn't attend does not mean you loved your niece any less. I can understand not attending but instead going away to get some 'head space' etc.,

Keep your chin up.

Star said...

Personally, i think every fmily is dysfunctional on some level. As they say you can pick your friends. I am not taking sides here or excusing your family. but having lost a chils myself I know that it is normal to lash out at things and people because you hve a lot of anger and no place to direct it. SOmetmes the nearest target is the easiest one. hope it gets better.

Claire said...

Families are hard work. I am lucky in that I have a very supportive family but my boyfriends family are a different story, I can imagine very similar problems cropping up along the road for us.

I think you're right to stay strong and try not to back down, it's not fair that those of us who feel things have to back down and give in all the time to keep everyone else happy.

Keep strong, and hopefully this will be the start of a good year for you.

Bob-kat said...

Star, thanks for your view. It was not my brother's child. He had lost a niece just as I had.

What I am continually hurt by is the lack of support and respect for my emotional state from other members of my family, not just over this issue with my brother, but over my divorce and everything else that has happened. I have been astounded at how selfish and thoughtless they have been.

Dianne said...

hugs and much empathy bobkat

my family has issues on top their baggage and we circle and circle in layers of crazy

the younger me would have apologized to the brother, actually I most likely would have just not taken my only chance for a break.

It has taken me so many years to realize that losing myself will not make my family happier and it won't make us all get along.

I detach from most of my family - one of my 2 brothers hasn't spoken to me in 3 years because I asked for better treatment and he didn't want to deal with it. it hurts at times and I miss my nephew but I have come to know it was his choice and not anything I did.

I hope that writing about this and receiving the support of your blog friends helps.

I send an extra hug :)

Mar said...

Sorry to hear about this situation, Bob-kat... follow your heart. There is a saying in Spanish "el que se excusa se acusa", the one who excuses himself, accuses himself...hope you get the idea. If you don't feel you did something wrong, there is no need to apologize. I guess your brother has this inner anger caused by the absurd loss of your niece and needs to put the load on someone else.

Mar said...

I just read you own comment about missing your family support while you needed it. Maybe they see you as a strong person, Bob-kat, I seldom spoke to my sister about her divorce because I felt she didn't want to talk about it and never said a thing...

Bob-kat said...

Mar, I think you are right. I think though, that in my case at least, it wasn't so much I wanted to talk about the divorce, I just wanted to know someone cared. Not one of my siblings rang me during this time to just say hi, how ya doing? It's easier to be strong knowing someone is 'behind you' so to speak.

Thanks for your insight, it has been helpful, and so has everyone else's comments and advice. Thanks again.

rashbre said...

Sometimes you have to follow your heart.

The challenge is trying to prevent a situation which then persists for years because of the lack of closure.

Sometimes people can't get past the obstacles that they create for themselves (and I don't mean you).

There's no slick answer, but I suppose it would be good to think about if there are ways to end the impasse without needing apologies. In families, this stuff is supposed to work.

Your virtual friends are here for you, (humbly) it would be good if your family were too.

I seldom use 'hugs' on internet, but this is one occasion.


Shephard said...

That sounds very typical. Family members trying to shame each other for not towing the party line, for not validating each other's choices or accepting one person's truth. The quiz said my family was about 50% dysfunctional. That's about right. But they sure have mellowed since my childhood, I can tell you that much.
You sound very grounded in your priorities. :)