How To Deal With Mean and Nasty People In Your Life Who Happen To Be In Your Family

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I was talking with a friend this week who was telling me about some encounters with her mother.

My friend is one of the kindest, most loving, self-aware people on the planet. But her mother treats her atrociously. I can’t get over how anyone who knows my friend could treat her poorly, but dang — her own mom??!!

Of course it is extremely painful for my friend. She has spent a lifetime trying to win her mother’s love and approval, but her efforts are consistently met with coldness and disapproval.

I have another friend whose father had a borderline mental illness. He was sane enough that he appeared “normal” — but he really had the emotional maturity of a teenager. He was manipulative, self-absorbed, and often inappropriate. My friend could barely stand to be in his presence.

My own father (now deceased) could be a very difficult person. He had very poor relational skills, resorted to passive aggressive behaviors, and couldn’t communicate his feelings well. Sometimes he resorted to anger and stomping around the house in a grown-up version of a toddler tantrum.

As a teenager and young adult, I couldn’t understand why there was such a disconnect between us and why our relationship was so superficial. Trying to connect with him was like jumping in a pool with only 6 inches of water.

I know there must have been more in there, but God love him, he couldn’t express it, and neither myself, my siblings, nor my mother could reach it.

I’m sure as you’re reading, you’re thinking about people in your own family who fall on the spectrum of difficult. They can be just plain mean and nasty or somewhere else on the scale of disagreeable due to low emotional intelligence, poor self-esteem, bad upbringing, or just a wanky or narcissistic personality type.
 
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And of course, I don’t need to tell you that when your family member behaves this way with you, it has very little (or more likely nothing) to do with you personally. It’s all about them, who they are, their past experiences, their unmet needs, their inability to communicate in healthy ways, their fears, etc.

Intellectually, that’s all fine and good. But if that difficult person is your mother, your father, your sibling, your child, or God forbid, your spouse, it’s hard to just remember it’s all about them and calmly let it roll of your back.

We have far too much emotional investment and history with these people to be able to disengage without being deeply wounded in the process. And sadly, these relationships tend to bring out the worst in us, regardless of how evolved and self-aware we might be.

We have far too much emotional investment and history with these people to be able to disengage without being deeply wounded in the process.

I mean really, if your own mother doesn’t show you love or treats you like a child when you’re 45 or tries to sabotage you in some way — how can you not want to fall on the floor in a heap and cry your eyes out?

Or if your father is still disappointed in you because you didn’t live up to his expectations or can’t show you an ounce of tenderness or never has any time or interest in your life, why wouldn’t you want to scream, “I hate you!” just like a petulant teenager?

These are the people who are supposed to love us unconditionally and support us in good times and bad. If one or both of our parents is toxic, not supportive, hypercritical, narcissistic, resentful, controlling, unloving, or mentally ill — it can infect your entire life and turn you from an emotionally mature adult into a wounded, infuriated child.

As you grow into adulthood and realize how difficult and hurtful your parent was when you were a child — when you couldn’t understand their behavior — you’ll have buckets of your own anger and resentment to sort through. It is extremely difficult to release these painful feelings in healthy ways with your parent, especially if they are received with more bad behavior or rejection.

Issues with difficult siblings can also disrupt your life and cause you pain, although generally they don’t cause the turmoil that a difficult parent can create. And depending on the dynamics and interactions of your own extended family, you can have other difficult family members (cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents) who are regularly in your life making you miserable.

(I’m going to leave spousal relationships and relationships with your own children for another discussion, as they are your primary family unit and problems here must be handled differently.)

So how can you cope with and manage these family members who are so difficult and disruptive? And more importantly, how can you protect yourself from being continually hurt and disrupted by their behavior?

Here are some thoughts that might be helpful:

Seek to understand and have compassion

As I mentioned before, most of the bad behaviors with these difficult people stem from their own issues. Perhaps they had difficult childhoods or never learned how to express their feelings, pain, and anger in appropriate and mature ways.

Maybe they are lacking in self-esteem, they are coping with their own bitterness and regret, or they don’t have the emotional strength or motivation to create positive change in their lives. Or it could be they have some kind of mental illness — like depression, a personality disorder, or narcissism.

When you understand the pain and experiences of your difficult family member, you will often have more compassion for them. When you have compassion, their difficult behaviors might still annoy or offend you, but they won’t cause you as much pain because it redirects your focus from yourself to them.

If the behaviors are so bad and the wounds so deep, it is hard to genuinely feel compassion. If you can intellectually understand the source of your family member’s behaviors, then make an intellectual decision about how you want to treat this person in spite of their behaviors.

Attempting to punish them with your anger or retribution won’t change their behavior if they are so entrenched in their own “stuff.” Make a rational decision about who you want to be around this person, and practice being that person even if you don’t feel it right away.

Try to communicate — with or without mediation

If the difficult family shows some willingness or ability to improve the relationship and you are motivated to try to improve it, then initiate a conversation or series of conversations to discuss your own boundaries, listen to theirs, and to try to negotiate for better behavior.

This can be a tricky conversation when someone is defensive, sensitive, or angry. It’s always good to begin these conversations with something positive. You can mention how much you value them and the relationship. You can discuss how much you care about them and how motivated you are to improve the relationship.

As you express your frustrations, communicate with them by telling your family member how they make YOU feel rather than blaming them or pointing out how immature or unpleasant their behaviors are. For example, you could say something like, “When you are critical, it really hurts me deeply because I value your good opinion and want to have a mutually supportive relationship. Would you be willing to focus on the best in me rather than criticizing?”

If you find these conversations quickly devolve into blaming and recriminations, then seek the assistance of a counselor to mediate the discussion and work with both of you on healthy communication skills. More often than not, a third party can mitigate the desire to lash out or walk away.

Examine your own involvement

Even if it is crystal clear your family member is the difficult person in the relationship, be open to looking at yourself and what you may have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to the problem. And ask yourself if there is any truth, even the tiniest shred, related to what they are saying to or about you.

If you are angry and hurt by this person, you will likely have lashed out in response or at least hurled a few zingers their way. Of course this only further inflames the problem. Try to remember to be the person you want to be in spite of the other person’s behavior.

Sometimes these relationships with difficult family members can be an opportunity for the greatest learning about ourselves. They can hold a mirror up to our deepest fears, wounds, and longings. Have the courage to look in the mirror and use what you see to work on your own growth and development.

Manage your reactions

I’ve found it’s helpful to have very little or no reaction when a difficult family member tries to engage in bad behavior. If they try to ensnare you in a verbal argument, give them nothing in response except a non-committal reply like, “that’s interesting,” or “you might be right,” or just “hmm.”

If they are defensive, petulant, passive-aggressive, or critical, simply smile or excuse yourself from the room. Your lack of reaction will throw them off-center and eventually they will realize their behavior doesn’t work with you.

Manage your interactions

My friend with the difficult father ultimately decided she could only spend an hour or so with him every few months. She realized she could not include him in family events or have him interact with her children. She had to create very strict personal and emotional boundaries with him.

You may find you need to limit your interactions with the difficult family member. This may cause some backlash from them or others in your family, but you are the only person who can take care of your feelings and emotional energy. You may need to back off, skip some family gatherings, or stay for shorter periods of time.

If you see texts or phone calls come in from the difficult person, simply don’t answer them and only reply to messages that are kind or neutral.

In some families, the dynamic is so dysfunctional that the individual members take sides. There is a camp for you and one against you, headed up by the difficult family member. Do your best not to contribute to gossip or attempt to justify or undermine any members of your family. Ultimately, the healthy-minded people in your family will gravitate toward you and your more mature and measured behavior.

Allow yourself to grieve

Having a parent who doesn’t behave like a loving, mature, and supportive parent is extremely painful. Having a sibling who creates problems or treats you poorly is also painful. When you don’t have family members who behave the way family is supposed to behave, it is a huge loss. Everyone desires a close and loving relationship with their family. When you don’t have that, it can feel like a huge rejection or even a death.

If the pain of this is debilitating, work with a counselor to help you process the feelings and grief associated with your loss of your “dream family.” Acknowledge to yourself that is ISN’T okay to have this difficult relationship, but that your CHOOSE to thrive in spite of it. Acknowledge your pain, cry over it, share it with someone, and then choose to live happily anyway.


Living under the negative specter of a mean-spirited, unpleasant family member can cause real upheaval and pain in your life. Feeling unloved, misunderstood, unduly criticized, manipulated, or victimized can wreck havoc with your self-esteem and general contentment in life.

As difficult as the situation may be, you do have control over your own reactions and decisions around this relationship. Don’t give away more time and energy than is absolutely necessary to a person (even a person who happens to be your parent or sibling) than absolutely necessary.

Do you have a difficult family member in your life? How are you managing your relationship with this person? How have they made you feel? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Comments

  1. thank you – I really needed to hear this today.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      You are so welcome Gayla!

      • Natacha says:

        This weekend I volunteered to go to my parents house (they live in dunedin fl)pick them up and take them to miami fl to visit my son and my beautiful granddaughter and my sons sig other. On the way down there my father treated me like crap. Get this I’m 56 yrs old female a respected registered nurse and according to my father I don’t know how to drive, I’m stupid, I don’t know where I’m going, i dont know how to get there, I’m an idiot, oh and get this he is on dialysis, he has htn and hasn’t driven in years. I have begged him. For years to on antidepressants, and anti anxiety Meds. Of course he didn’t ask me politely he proceeded to tell me and my husband where we were going. And specifically what street to turn on which way to go, because I am after all an idiot and don’t know where I am going. Mind you i was bitting my tounge changing the subject making polite smll take. he didn’t know how I managed to get a drivers license. By the time it was time to go home mind you a 5 hr drive. I blew up. I turned the car off in the middle of the road. I know this is dangerous. I did put my emergency lights on I had to sceam at him 4 or 5 times. I told him in Spanish that he was To me disrespectfully. I loved him and I was His daughter. That just like I gave him respect I spoke with That I Deserve the same in return. Ice screamed and i screamed and I said you need to be quiet. You need to talk to me in loving kind and respectful terms. With a tone in your voice as if you love me. Because I loved him he is My father. And I had to scream it 5 times. I told him if he could not talk to me with love in his voice. Then I didn’t want him to talk to me at all. I said I did not want to hear his voice. I said he was in my car. And he will speak to everyone in my presence with respect. And if he could not Do that. Then he was to be silent. And I yelled and screamed and cried and told Him. That was not going to move the car. Until he was quite.
        After I did that. It was very liberating. And I cried all the way home. 5 hours.

        • Barrie Davenport says:

          Wow Natacha. It is so sad that he couldn’t come to this awareness without this situation happening. But I’m glad you were able to clearly set your boundaries with him. Has he continued to respect them?

      • I’m only 14 and yet my mom is very very very mean to me.she acts crazily when imake a little mistake nod she makes me panic I have low self esteem nd on top of that when I need a shoulder to cry on no one is there for me I feel lonely nd scared my family is soooo mean to me

        • Barrie Davenport says:

          Hi Andrea,
          I’m so sorry you are having such difficulties with your mom. Do you have a school counselor you could talk with about how you are feeling? You need to be able to talk about your fears and loneliness. Is there another adult you feel safe and comfortable with? I hope you reach out to someone you can trust who can help you and your mom work through these challenges. I know you are scared to talk about it with anyone, but you will feel so relieved to find a caring adult who can help you.

          • I at time wander why some mother keep confusing there own kids to apoint of even hating them with there grandys kids.and it is worse when amother is not truethfull to her own kids.

        • I know how difficult this can be i I was the scapegoat for my dsyfunctional family, with repeated abuse both emotional and physical until i fled at age 16 As a result of no supportive family, i developed severe depression and anxiety, I ve been on meds for years. My adult daughter has treated me so abusively that i finally had to break offf contact with her, I went through a grieving process but am doing ok now, It is so demoralizing that the ones who should love me the most, are so horrible.. I finally had to let it go Now i avoid abusive relationships, otherwise my whole life i will be a victim

        • Connie Black says:

          Dear Andrea.
          I see you wrote a yr or so ago , how are you. Id give u my shoulders to cry on, you are not alone. And God will never leave you ,, stay in prayer and church if can. Feel sorry for her, they are her issues not yours ok. You’ll be an adult soon and on your way to a beautiful life God has planned for you, im sure your mom loves you just doesnt know how to show it in a healthy way yet……take care of you and just be if u can have time to regroup and ask to talk when both calmer sometimes lil break helps…..God Bless sweetie hang tight :-)

      • Hi Barrie,
        Apologies in advance for this extremely long letter…..I’ve been struggling for years with both parents. I’m 42, happily married and hold down a good job, but I came to the end of my tether with my parents 2 years ago when things came to a head. This event is just one example of their strange behaviour: My husband and I had arranged to go on a camping holiday in south of France and my parents said that we could meet up with us a week after we arrived as they were travelling through the area on the way to Spain. When we arrived at the camp site, we soon realised that we didn’t like the place and decided that we would go elsewhere. We decided that as we’d always fancied going to Lourdes that we’d head that way and continue along the west coast. I sent a text to my parents to say, we were not happy at this camp site, and that we were preparing to move on, we’d see them back home. In hindsight it probably would have been advisable to have tried to phone and pass the message, and not to have turned my phone off for the duration of the holiday. But what happened then was completely surreal, when we were due to travel home; I turned on my phone, and could not believe the texts and voice messages that had been left. The parents had got it into their heads, that I was in trouble, had had a fight with my husband, possibly been beaten, and that they were sick with worry, I had message with my mother crying her eyes out, and some aggressive ones from my dad. I had a message left from my sister and my best friend as my parent had gotten them involved in the search for me. When I explained to them what we’d done when we left the campsite, they would not believe me, even to this day!
        This event is just one of many events; I remember happy times, it wasn’t all bad, but it was interspersed with bad times and mean statements; for example, I was introduced as the thick one of the family. I was too fat, then too thin, my friend were not good enough. I barely had friends in my teenage years and suffered severe bullying at school. I had no one to talk to about this. My parents were so wrapped up in their own problems. My father had had an affair with a family friend when I was about ten and since then I’d been the cushion for my mother grieve. I remember having to go take stuff back to this woman’s house with my mother and witnessing my mother’s outburst. I remember being made to talk to my father on the phone in tears to ask him to come home. I’ve recently found out from my father that although he loved this other woman, the reason he came back it because he’d received a letter from me telling him to come home. I don’t remember the letter!
        I have been their emotional punch-bag for so many years. When my mother was depressed my father would phone me to help her out. It’s great when I help them, but if I don’t then I get bombarded with negative emotions.
        My father accuses me of being frightened of my husband and in his control. He told me in one meeting that he hoped I would be waiting at their home one day having left my husband. I love my husband with all my heart and he is the most respectful and caring person you could meet!
        About two years ago I took the decision to write a letter to them both and get things off my chest. I told them how controlling they were, how their criticisms throughout my life had worn me down. How their treatment of my sister was far better than me (my sister is in the dark about the affair- she’s protected).
        For the next six months after I sent the letter was hell for me, I could barely cope and if it wasn’t for the love and support of my husband and best friend I don’t know how I would have survived!
        The aggression and emotional outburst and blame were unbearable. I was bombarded by texts and phone calls and my mother turning up at my door step in tears. I thought we’d came to some understanding, and I started to visit them again and interact with them without my husband initially. They’ve only met up with him once in 18 mths, and he thought that they had not changed. He said they were still self-centred and didn’t seem interested in me or him or out life together. For the last 6 mths, I’ve begun to realise that they do not phone me on my mobile or landline. I get texts, and I get emails and occasionally my mother will arrange for us to skype. I’ve not felt like being with them, and I’ve held my calls. Two weeks ago I get a text from my mother asking if I’m alright, they haven’t heard from me. My father has twice said he doesn’t want to speak to me when I’ve called (not sure if he means it or whether it’s a joke). And on Friday I got a text from my sister, saying that my father is arranging a get together and to invite me and my husband. He doesn’t even have the courtesy to phone or text me?? I feel at my wits end at the moments and don’t exactly know where to go from here…..
        Barrie, I loved your statement about grieving and learning to thrive by yourself. I want to take that on board and live the life I was meant to….Thank you!

      • Hi thank you for your article it was very helpful. I live with my older sister and she undermines all the things i do to try to make my home nice. She breaks my things without even caring or replacing them. The house is in my name and she told me once that she is upset that i own the home and not her. Every once in a while something breaks and she doesn’t tell me. She takes my things and doesn’t ask. I feel like she does these on purpose. I’m upset and angry a lot of the time.I feel stressed out a lot. She takes something for depression and I think she doubles up on the meds by accident, it makes her act weird, like overly good mood. I feel like i have to walk on eggshells around her. If I say one little wrong thing she takes it much worse, very overly sensitive, then she takes it out on me in some way.I know i should try to be more positive but it is difficult.Any advice? i cant talk to her about anything, something i can do for myself?

      • Family members can really make you feel less about yourself but that is just because they themselves don’t have the determination and values that you has and they themselves feel less about themselves so they expect you to feel the same as they do so people keep your head high and never stoop to their level.

    • DeniseGreen says:

      i feel like that your mom needsvtogrowup and be an adult!!!!!

  2. T. Wright says:

    I have also learned in the last 5-7 years that “powerful” outsiders cause so much harm and pain to family members which puts pressure on them to behave the way they do as well. The power plays are strategized. If my family members what their peace and “blessings” then they must do as they are told towards me. In addition, they have their own justifications for behaving the way they do.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      That is why it is so important to define our own integrity and strive to be the people we want to be rather than doing what others think is right. It’s hard to stand up against people who pressure us, especially if they are members of our family. But we will never feel free to be ourselves if we don’t.

  3. Thanks Barrie.

  4. I needed this as well. A great and helpful article. Thanks, Barrie!

  5. Or maybe you were just dropped in the wrong basket. Some people are best loved at arms length. If that fails, you could actually dismiss them from your life. There is no law that forces you to spend your life trying to make it OK for people who are toxic to you. There may be creative endeavors that would be snuffed out by a life of constant upheaval attempting to have a “relationship”. End the madness.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Julia,
      I agree. Sometimes we have to make that very difficult choice for our self-preservation.

    • I agree that some of us are dropped into the wrong basket. My own family were and still are toxic. I forgave too often, they have never changed and never will. I finally have followed my wise son’s advice and let them go. I get all the love I need from my children and wonderful friends. Who needs people who have enormous psychological problems that they will not face and therefore never change. It is self-destructive to continue to try to have relationships with people like this regardless of whether they are related.

  6. My problem was my mother. She abandend me twice in my life and then expected me to forgive and forget, but was never willing to talk about it. Plus no matter what I did it wasn’t good enough for her. She constantly criticized me over every minor detail. Everything she did was always better than what I did. Etc etc…
    After 60+ years I finally ended it all. I told her I do not want to ever speak to her again. She only said that I was full of poison and proceeded to complain to my children and tried to turn them against me. That didn’t work. But I haven’t talked to her in 4 months now and have never felt better. Although, I am still working to heal myself.
    Thank you for this article, it makes me realize that I’m not alone in this struggle against a mean mother.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Dorris,
      I know that must have been extremely difficult — but probably not nearly as painful as all of the years of criticism and unloving behavior. I admire that you had the courage to stand your ground and protect yourself from further emotional abuse. And I’m glad your children stood by you.

  7. Maryonna says:

    Coming out of the fantasy that maybe their awful behaviour will change is the first step and the next is giving yourself permission to no longer be the dutiful daughter/son. For me this brought so much guilt – more of my taking responsibility for their actions! Your article made me realise that I have no more energy to keep working at trying to engage with my family. I feel like an abandoned orphan.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Maryonna,
      I know you have come to a very difficult and painful place. I know what you mean about feeling orphaned. But you must create a new family with the people in your life who ARE loving and supportive.

  8. After over 50 years of trying to please a consistently difficult father, I have drawn my boundaries and have no relationship anymore. It hurts deeply. I have used the advice you’ve outlined and more, but have not received positive responses from my father. Even though a parents love should be unconditional, i don’t see it in this relationship. I’ve never heard the words I love you or I’m sorry from him. Expressing my feelings in writing has been most helpful, even if the letters are not all sent.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Mikel,
      It is so unbelievably painful to be rejected by a parent. And so hard to accept that this “adult” who is supposed to be your loving parent is not really a parent at all. Keep expressing your feelings and maybe even work with a counselor for a while. Coming to terms with this takes time.

  9. Dear Barrie,

    I’ve been reading and printing (for my husband and myself) articles from your sites for almost a year, and I’m also saving up money to buy your book, but I never really had the courage to write until now. This post couldn’t have come at a better time; my parents are so disappointed with me and I am so sad and angry that if our children were not around I’d howl in the house. I love them deeply and I try to show this by small gestures or by any other means (speaking doesn’t really work because we aren’t really used to expressing ourselves!) but they are so disappointed with our family status (financial situation mainly). We have 2 girls and we’re waiting for a third baby and my parents keep telling me that I’ve ruined my life and their lives, that I’m the cause for their many illnesses because we don’t seem to progress at all. And this has been going on for years.
    My husband and I are both teachers and our salaries are really low so parents and parents-in-law still help us with money from time to time… They keep giving me examples of former friends and school mates that are better off, have their own house, fewer children and apparently an easier life and they are always so bitter when we meet that I’m afraid of meeting them (we live about 400 km away) though I long to see them. I feel so depressed and discouraged that it seems to me I have no chance of finding and living from my passion. I’m still trying to figure out what my path in life, I’m also seeing a psychotherapist (to get rid of depression and for self esteem issues) but it hurts terribly to bear the guilt of someone else’s unhappiness and disease.
    I want to work from home and to be as close as possible to my family but they see this as a life of painful sacrifice and since I haven’t found what I’m looking for (though I’ve been searching for years!) they only see my growing number of white hairs and tired face and pity me or make reproaches…
    I have no suggestions for dealing with nasty people in your family, I just shared my grief and despair hoping not only to find a solution but also to warn parents who might be reading these lines of what such love could do to their children.
    Thank you for your patience and for your wonderful posts!
    With lots of gratitude,
    Iulia from Romania

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Dear Lulia,
      First, thank you so much for your kind comments and your willingness to share your story. I am so very sorry about the difficulties you are experiencing with your family. It is so sad that your parents want to shame, control, and humiliate you when they could have a loving, happy relationship with you and your children. Financial status shouldn’t matter. You are employed in a very valuable, honorable profession. They should be proud of you. Lulia, they are still treating you like a child and trying to tell you how to live your life. But you have a choice not to be a child anymore, even if they treat you like one. You DO have a voice and can express to them that their unsupportive, hurtful comments are no longer acceptable to you. This may make them mad or offend them, but they will realize you have boundaries they are not allowed to cross. At this stage of life, it isn’t likely your parents will change the way they interact with you. You must reclaim your life and find other relationships with friends who do love and support you as you are. I know it is deeply painful to feel so rejected by those who should love you the most. But your choice is to live this way forever or to decide to disengage from their hurtful presence and live happily. I’m glad you are seeing a therapist to help with your depression. Ultimately, self-esteem comes from living the life you create for yourself and honoring your own values — not your parent’s.

      • Georgette says:

        This reply speaks to me. My boyfriend and I have built a house together and his mother took upon herself to be the general contractor. She has also taken it upon herself to do things in the house that we have voiced time and time again that we do NOT want. She is very manipulative and if you speak your mind to her she says you are not obeying thy father and mother. She doesn’t like the fact that my boyfriend has a backbone and speaks his opinion. She treats him like crap all while treating his younger brother(he’s 25) like royalty just to try and manipulate my boyfriend into letting her do as she wants when she wants. It doesn’t work though. We have learned how to not let her “run” our lives. It’s not easy, I would love to be able to get along with her but its people like her that make it so hard to be nice. Thanks for your articles.

  10. Hi Barrie,
    I have little conflict with none other than my beloved wife.
    Two weeks back we are blessed with a baby boy.
    I am trying my level best to give a great blessed turn to our relationship. We are separate since last six months. Even now she is not with me and Baby is with her only but I am trying to keep all emotional and other support. My heart says that she will realize my love and will come back. I am now focusing on listening to her and giving unbiased suggestions thus cleared her many confusions. I don’t counterattack her and stop her upfront when she start nagging on phone….she is also changing and realizing things. I pray and spread love and very hopeful for better life to bloom.
    I feel really great reading your insight. Keep the great work.
    Thanks,
    Ranjeet

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Ranjeet,
      Congratulations on being a new father. And I think you are doing the right things. Right now your wife needs your support and unconditional love. Keep reminding her of your love and help her with your new baby. I hope she will come back too. Have you both considered marriage counseling?

    • Hi I just want to say my life is far from perfect my brothers is hinting in front of my family on occasion to take my half it looks like I need to get a lawyer when times come I don’t know what could be in the will but I know I’m fighting forvmymhalf. It’s. Not fair for him to keep my half just because he’s got some male ego. My mums saids it exactly half half, so why does he want my half,.

  11. Beth O'Donnell says:

    The only big fights I’ve had with my sisters since we were teenagers (and we are all in our 50’s) involve my father. I draw bright lines. They draw dotted lines and then cross them. They don’t understand how I can limit my contact with my father. I don’t understand why they go back for more.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Beth,
      You are the only person who knows what YOU can tolerate in your relationship with your father. I’m sure it’s an emotional topic for you and your sisters — probably one that’s best avoided! :)

  12. OMG!!! I don’t personally know anyone else who has the sort of dysfunctional family I have; I thought I was alone in the world to not have an unconditionally loving (or at least accepting) mother and father!

    Iulia’s situation is similar to mine, except I have no children. I do, however, have dogs and as I’ve struggled financially my parents and brother suggested that I give them away or put them to sleep! After growing up in that family and going through two divorces, they (dogs) have provided the only steadfast loving relationships I’ve had in my life; if there’s a choice to be made about divesting myself of relationships, it won’t be the dogs!!

    Thank you for opening my eyes to the fact that there is not necessarily something wrong with me. I haven’t been inherently unlovable from birth (my mother once told me in a tongue loose from alcohol, “from the moment they laid you on my chest in the hospital and you didn’t want to be held, I hated you.” She now denies ever having said it.)

    I don’t know how to respond with anything other than love, compassion, and a little bit of pity. But just knowing that I am not alone has been a huge source of comfort today.

    Thank you, Barrie. This is one of your best. Please forgive me for not signing my whole name.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi there,
      You are definitely not alone (sadly). It is mind-boggling how parents will hurt their children and emotionally abuse them. You are right, animals give unconditional love. You are totally lovable and worthy of kindness and support. I hope you can find other people in your life who can offer that to you. :)

  13. This couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. I was thinking you must have been reading my mind, as just last night I was grieving, and wondering how to move forward.
    Thank you for your insight.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Sara,
      I’m so glad this came at just the right time for you. I’m so sorry you are grieving about your family. It is so painful. But if you recognize that change isn’t possible, you must reclaim your life and happiness in spite of them.

  14. Nice article, Barrie – helpful and caring information. So many people have these family troubles and I think your words will give them hope.

  15. Thank you Barrie. I needed this article. Like so many other readers I too felt alone on this issue. I struggle with feeling unloved and unloveable. But with the help of a friend I’m learning the importance of loving myself. I’ve finally come to accept that my ‘dream’ family never existed so there is nothing I can do to fix it. I only wish I’d figured it out earlier.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Jinja,
      I’m so sorry your family has not been there for you in the ways they should be. I have learned the importance of creating a “new” family of friends and people in my life who love and support me. You can’t change people, even people in your family. You must accept who they are and protect yourself from pain. Surround yourself with other loving people.

  16. Barrie,

    Thank you so much for this article! I discovered some of these items on my own a couple of years ago. But it is so wonderful to have someone else validate them!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Colleen,
      Yes, reading the comments, you can see you aren’t alone. I’m glad you have discovered these things, and I hope you are finding a way to manage your relationships and focus on people who do love and support you.

  17. Thanks Barrie,

    I glad I found this site.. My mom has torn the family of nine apart she makes us each one of us hate each other by her lies. Out of nine , I talk to 4 now. I haven’t talk to my older sister and youngest sister in two years. Those two are very evil, I hate to say that but I don’t know another word for them. I wish at one point we all could be a family again, but now I don’t. My mom is 77 years old and lies all the time and was very abused when I was younger . My mom was liked that to all her kids , except the last two. My mom still to this day is mentally abusing. I learned to forget, but again she lied and hurt me and pinned me against my oldest sister. So I am done with her, I am emotionally and mentally drained. I have my own family , who loves me.

    Thank you .. I am going to buy your book.
    God bless
    Deb

  18. Davis Nguyen says:

    While I am at school (1000 mile away from home) it can be hard to stay in contact with my family. I make a conscious effort to stay in contact. While my family might not be dysfunctional, I know that if I don’t stay in contact a rift would form as with any relationship.

    You mention how to handle communication with a difficult member, but I think it is great when we can see the signs and prevent relationships from crumbling in the first place too.

    Thank for the great article!

  19. youthministry.com says:

    Hey there! I’ve been following your web site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the great job!

  20. What an excellent article!! I grew up in an extremely dysfunctional family like so many others. My mother got pregnant, married the guy, gave birth to my sister….got pregnant again with me (he raped her she told me) I was born and she left my birth father when I was 2 months old. We moved in with my grandparents until she met a service man (Ted) home on leave from the service…She had a blind date with him in Sept. and married him the day after Christmas and we moved 3 states away. I was 2 1/2 and didn’t know or like this man my mother married. My mother proceeded to have Ted adopt my sister and I because she hated my birth father and didn’t want him to see us. They had the adoption papers sent to an address where they knew he didn’t live so he wouldn’t contest it…and it worked! By the time he found out about the adoption, there wasn’t much he could do to overturn things. Ted wasn’t very nice to my sister and I…he was an extremely angry man and would beat us with a black snake whip when we “misbehaved”. I was terrified of him, my sister would try and stand up to him. I stayed as far away from him as I could. My mother and Ted had 2 children together and he always treated them nicer than he treated us. My mother never stood up for my sister and I over the years against Ted but several years ago told me she was sorry she hadn’t protected us against him. There was always a lot of tension in our house and we were far from the warm and loving family I had hoped. So here we are 2013….Ted has dementia….is on meds and friendlier than he’s ever been his entire life. Mother is zoned out on valium dealing with Ted and all the family squabbling. I had a financial crisis 3 years ago and had no where to turn except my parents. They lent me money to get back on my feet but my younger sister found out about it (because Ted told everyone) and started sending me nasty, hateful texts. I had to change my cell number several times. I asked her to stop but she continued on making fun of my financial situation and just plain nasty stuff. She blocked me on Facebook and no longer speaks to me. I think she is jealous of Ted lending me money (he’s given her money all her life behind my back). My older sister joined in on the “lets make Wendy’s life miserable” and it continues today. I live far away from my family….amazing, huh! I’m the one who has always lived away….can’t deal with any of my family. My 2 sisters are bullies…have always been bullies and I am the sensitive, compassionate type (and far from perfect!). I have been beside myself with the hurt they have inflicted on me but after reading this article, I am seeing a new light at the end of the tunnel. Instead of getting caught up in the hurt, I am realizing that it’s not about me!!! THANK YOU…THANK YOU…THANK YOU!!! I cannot tell you how much better I feel after reading this article…I plan on following your web sight from now on!!

  21. Hi Barrie, my world came crashing 3 years ago when my siblings and myself lost our mother soon suddenly and after my mother’s family turned against me and treated me like a oustsider. I lost two uncles who were very close to me the same year my mother suddenly passed and I been trying to understand why I was going through this bad treatment, sadly, last year I lost my younger brother who was my best friend and I can’t sleep at nights because where I’m currently staying with my twin sister,my little nephew and my cousin is not going so well. We always argue about everything and they believe I am the one with the problem. Please help any way you can thank you for listening to my current living nightmare

  22. I am having some major issues with my younger sister, She and I are 8 years apart and have been at each others throats for the past two and half years, ever since I had my son, she has been on a mission to destroy all of my parenting. She has physically assaulted me when I’ve had my son in my arms, and on some occasions has verbally attacked me in front of him. Due to circumstances that I can’t control right now, I live home with my parents and she did live here for six months- those were the six months from hell that turned my world upside down. She finally moved out and is on her own, but EVERY time she is back at the house she attacks me verbally, emotionally, and mentally. This morning was just another example of an outburst that triggered an un-wanted attack from her.
    She was upset that I was making noise up-stairs last night due to my son having a sore throat. She comes down at 6:30 am to start screaming at me about how un-appreciative she is that there was so much noise last night, and how it’s my fault that I was making all of the noise. It got so bad that my father finally got involved and told us to knock it off. I’ve hit my limit with her. Every time she has an outburst I walk away. She feeds on that- and then stands back to laugh at me.
    Any advice would help, b/c I’m at the end of my rope with her and I have to deal with her for the rest of the week. Please if anyone can offer anything I’d be very appreciative. Thank You

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Meredith,
      I’m so sorry you are having these issues with your sister. You shouldn’t have to put up with verbal and physical abuse from anyone, especially a family member. I would try to stay away from her as much as possible. And if you are forced to be together, do not engage with her behavior. Walk away as you said. If she becomes physically abusive, let her know that the next time it happens, you will call the police. Then follow through if it happens again.

      • Thank You so much for the advice. I will try to stay away from her as much as possible. The other thing I wanted to ask you about is, She (the sister I’m having issues with) was recently diagonsed with having an anxiety disorder, she is supposed to take medicine- which to the best of my knowledge doesn’t take, when she’s home. Is there any way besides avoiding her that will work. The last question I have for you- She is showing symptoms of possible antisocial personality disorder. How can I deal with her, without it coming to blows. Besides walking away??
        Thank You again!!

  23. Hi,
    I see I am not alone in having the pain of an unloving family. I am 40 years old and have struggled with this throughout my entire life. From being born in to the world as an unwanted pregnancy with a drug abusing father and a mother who rejected and resented having to raise me. After I ingested my fathers lsd pills at the age of 3 and was traumatized by that my childhood was not the same, I was not normal and had many obstacles to overcome. My childhood was further spent being the outsider when my mother remarried. She loved her husband and not me. I went in to states custody eventually and was treated again unfairly and unkindly. I married a man who constantly criticized me, berated me, and was never around much. I had 3 children with him, two of which are now grown, and almost grown. Guess what-they treat me horrible too. My oldest had a baby at 19 moved back home and expected me to wait on her hand and foot while i am trying to hold down a full time job and care for my ten year old son. She would talk down to me and yell at me constantly even though i didnt raise her with that kind of emotion or disrespect. Then her boyfriend comes to stay with us and he acts like he owns the place, criticizes her brother, tries to refuse us to answer if her brother calls her phone, talks bad about our family members, takes what ever he wants around the house and then expects me to answer to him if i need to borrow my daughters phone to pay my phone bill etc. My daughter even just goes through my purse right in front of me to get something she wants doesn’t even ask but they refuse to share anything and act like they have just come in here and taken over my son and i’s life. I also thought the place i worked was like family but no, when i had a heart attack 6mos ago i got written up after that because i missed work. Then my child got sick and i got sick after that 6months later and they fired me 5 days before Christmas stating when i got written up after coming back to work after my heart attack and heart infection was my warning. I loved that job, i was in child welfare, and they just kicked me to the curb like that knowing my health was not good. I had just been diagnosed 3 weeks before i was fired with another bone tumor-the doctors told me it was benign. And i had a neck injury and in need of back surgery but now i have no insurance for that and was working in pain for several months. I also started dating a man and fell completely in love, he couldn’t stand my family either except for my youngest child and myself. i tried to work that out but couldn’t. he left me the day i got sick and then 3 days later my job fired me for being sick. my family didn’t care that even though these two horrible things happened to me right before christmas they still left me to spend christmas alone while they went and spent the holiday with their father and told me they would be back home to spend the evening with me. They got home and my teenage son took off immediately, and my daughter and her boyfriend just said here watch our child while we go out, then gave me a hard time when i asked them to bring me back a soda on their way home. on christmas. Now that my daughter has moved back home and acting the way she is it’s causing problems between me and my ten year old as well. he has always minded me and been a very loving child and we have a great relationship. now that my daughters boyfriend is around and she is home they come between that too. The boyfriend does it on purpose. I finally told him today they needed to move. so now, i am in need of medical care, no job, no family, a wonderful little boy to raise who is now having behavior issues, and my boyfriend has left me as well. My bio father has deceased of a drug overdose, my brother who i wasn’t raised with has as well, and my adoptive father who remarried doesn’t want or invite me around his new family, my mother who remarried still talks down to me but associates with my daughter and has nothing to do with me either. She called my daughter around christmas and said we could all go to dinner with them somewhere but after 3 years of not hearing from her except to criticize me for things like not affording to buy my daughter braces etc i just was not in the mood to deal with that either. i feel completely alone and lost in this world, like no one at all cares about my well being or happiness, i can’t get a man to stay with me and love me. i cant seem to get a job where my health needs are taken in to consideration and get that fixed so i can work and stay where i am at. and i especially dont have any family or friends who care about me and love me or treat me with compassion and kindness. even today after i did all the dishes from my daughter and her boyfriend and cleaned up after everybody she laughs at me when a plate falls on the floor and says you did a horrible job stacking the clean dishes. i wanted to hit her, but i am to good of a woman to ever do anything like that. i have had it with being used abused and yelled at and talked down to. this is what family is?!? This is what life is?!?

    • Hi Michelle:

      My heart goes out to you and the sadness and difficulties you are dealing with. I hope you will read more of the articles her on live bold and bloom. My 24 year old daughter can be very mean to me. My husband does it and so I know that’s where she gets it. They both have very little respect for me. In spite of that I still try to be kind to them and include them in activities from time to time, but they do not return the kindness.
      This site is new to me but I really appreciate it.

  24. Hi
    I am a 6th old mother and granny I am at the end of my tether with the antics of my only and younger sister. She is 14 hrs younger than me. I cared for her while mum and dad were out working, taking her to child minder, going to school, then picking her up to home after school. At 17th I got married, was a mum at 18th. By my sisters 11th birthday, our dad died, mum could not cope with4 my sister or Financial. I think at this point, my sister made mum redundant and me and my family took on mums role. Lots of things happened over the intervening years , my sister moved her boyfriend in at the age of 16.5 yr, they got married when she was 18, both developed great careers, had 2 children and owned their home. Whilst I had a large part in their lives, my mum was always kept at arms length by her. There had been a lot of resentment from her against mum.
    When her children were still quite young, she split from her husband, I and mum sided with her and we’re always there for her. For many years now, I have had to walk on eggshells around her. She would fall out with me for the (or make me feel that it was me who had fallen out with her) silliest thing, petty and trivial. I have always been the one to compromise, say sorry. I end up feeling guilty and stressed, she acts the martyr. Then she tells me she loves me, and we are on, until the next time.
    Last year, I took our mum on holiday to see family, mum is in her 80 now and can’t travel on her own. We paid for every thing. My sister took offence at not being invited, she took it out on mum, but never said anything to me. About a month before going on holiday, she announced to mum then me that she was coming with us. The holiday was a disaster, she came with one of her children, gave no consideration to me or mum. She had to be the centre of attraction, she even began to tell our cousins that mum loved me more than her, amongst other lies. On the journey home, she avoided us in the airport and the plane.
    Since we got home, mum put the phone down on her a few days after returning, she was so upset about past treatment from my sister and the holiday. I got the blame by mobile text, I was so hurt and upset, I did not reply..
    This all happened 7 months ago. Since then she has sent me 3 other nasty text messages, returned my Christmas card with a nasty note, (she did keep the money gifts for her children, from me and mum) telling me I had insulted her by not sending her a personal ‘I love my sister’ card’. More
    More
    Christmas week, she arrived at mum’s door with a present, having not been near her in 7 months, and 2 abusive phone calls to her. That ni
    The mum phoned and told her not to go near her ever again. Guess who got the blame? Yes, me another nasty text, saying she would never forgive me as long as she would never forgive me as long as she lives for run in her relationship with her mum.
    Later that night my niece text me with a very abusive text blaming me and her gran for the disgusting treatment of her er mother.
    I tried to explain to my niece that her mother had sent me nasty texts and had told me to keep away from her and her children. She was not interested, I have not heard from any of them Ince, neither has mum.
    Just don’t know what to our anymore. Must add that my whole family have told me for years that my xix ter has used me for years, by taking her children at the least notice, to let her go away with her boyfriends etc., at my wits end and mum is really sad at this current situation. Help……

  25. Hi Barrie! Thank you for this awesome forum and for those sharing through posts. I believe that nothing just happens. I was looking for such a site because I refuse to believe that I am so special as to be the only somebody in the world with “adult sibling” issues! Biblically, the first family was dysfunctional to the point of murder (Cain & Abel). Anywho, I made a conscious, deliberate decision to “Stand” for my beliefs, my truths, my integrity, no matter what. Without going into great detail, I am the 6th of 8 children- there are 3 brothers between my eldest sister and myself & an 8 yr gap in our ages. Yep, a lifetime! We are completely different people; I was still playing hop scotch & 4-square when she was graduating high school. The bottom line is this; when I came into the world only one came out of the box, when I leave it there will be only 1 in the box! Life is shorter than we think, there is no time for confusion. In essence, we must all discover our personal truths ( what am I here for?) & be about the business of focusing on that rather than spinning our wheels trying to fix someone or something that is not our business anyway! I practice being a 1Corinthians 13 Chapter woman. Anyone whose DNA is made of LOVE & AUTHENTICITY can be FAMILY! P.S. I love myself unconditionally!

  26. Thanks for this. It’s hard, though. My parents are great with their own whatevers, but it’s my brother who is the hurtful one. To make a long story short, we grew up together under the care of my grandmother and my two parents. We were very close. Then my youngest brother was born and my grandmother was sent to a home and my brother started bullying me through high school and I moved for college. When I came back, my brother flat-out hated me. He’s said I abandoned him, and he glomped onto our youngest brother and made him sort of a minion mini-me. I was attempting to better my life by going to college out of state at a great school that focused in what I needed to focus in. It was a good, positive decision that had nothing to do with his worth. I explained this to him, and I came home every month even if it was expensive. I tried to call, but he never answered. He got very angry at me during college because I found out he was up to things he shouldn’t be up to, and I alerted my parents in an attempt to help him. He blamed the near-destruction of our family on me because I told the truth and tried to get him help. And when I finally came home to try to mend things with him, he just completely ignored me and put me down … until he needed me. His girlfriend and he couldn’t afford an apartment by themselves, so they begged me in tears to help them. He said that if I wanted to get closer to him and mend things, then this was the way to do it. We would be living together, so we could bond and have fun, etc. However, the first night in the new apartment, he screamed at me in front of our little brother, my fiance, and his girlfriend. He called me a “b” and said it was too late for me to back out because I’d signed the lease. My fiance had to stand between us. And then came the two and a half years we lived together. Everyone called me stupid, but I wanted it to work. We tried to invite them to do things, and they would either say we’d have to pay for the whole thing or we would have to cater to their every whim. One of the saddest moments was when I won tickets to a Broadway show I had been wanting to see for years. We had two extra, so we gave them the extra two. They showed up, angry and freaking out because we wanted to get there at an early time. They made me cry in line with their scary, mean comments. Another thing that happens is every Saturday, they take my youngest brother and his friend to Red Robin to get food. We’ve been invited a couple of times, but it’s the only night my fiance and I get together because he lives four hours away during the week. And the few times we gave up our Saturday to go, they just belittled me and him the whole time, calling us stupid and ridiculous. One night, he got so mad that he pounded on my bedroom door and taunted and screamed and threatened until he heard me getting on the phone with my dad to come over and stop him. Then he high-tailed it and my dad had to cut him off in the parking lot to give him a stern heart-to-heart. It didn’t really help. … I have finally moved out, because they finally “had enough of me” and “wanted their own space.” So last summer, they cornered me in the living room in the middle of me and my fiance doing something, and they handed me an agreement for a six-month lease instead of a twelve-month lease. It needed to be signed “that night”. I said they had sort of thrown this on me without a discussion, seeing as I have a very stressful job and couldn’t rightly move out in March. They threw a fit. I signed. And I just moved out as of Monday. … It’s been a wonderful experience, being away from them. But now my brother wants us to get along again, for the sake of our parents. However, he has now included my younger brother’s girlfriend into his posse, and the five of them now hang out, leaving me alone during the week and then leaving me and my fiance alone during the weekend. He said to my mother it isn’t that he hates me, it’s that he is annoyed by me. I guess the biggest grievance is that my fiance and I would sing Disney songs together in the hallway. It’s just ridiculous. I’ve taken it so personally, thinking I’m an awful human being and maybe there is something annoying about me. Maybe it is all my fault. Maybe I’m not good enough. And now I’m trying to convince myself of what you said … that it’s more about the other person and where they’re coming from than it is how they’re reacting to you. I really hope that’s right. I don’t know what to do from here on out. He wants to have a relationship, but I’m not okay with that. I had a nightmare last night about him coming into my new place and not leaving and yelling at me. I’m scared of him, I hate the way he turns all of our siblings and their SOs against me, I hate the way he treats my fiance, and I am really hurt by some of his words. But I am sad for my parents, because I love my parents and they are trying to keep neutral through all of this. … Sorry, I just needed to get it out. Thanks for writing this, and thanks for taking the time to read my reply.

  27. I was unfortunate in the basket I was placed in, I was put in a orphanage at six when my parents separated then sent to boarding school then sent overseas to live with a elderly strict religious grandmother, my brother did not survive our childhood and commit suicide, my mother has passed and I’m left with a father who can not find a nice thing to say, or make any effort to be part of my life.
    What have I learnt from all this, I have learnt what kind of parent I never want to be, I treasure the family I now have in my life, my father is now in the too hard basket. Reading all the comments above I feel for all of you, always value yourself and as hard as it is focus on the good people in your life. God Bless xx

    • Hi Annie,
      Wow, you did have a lot of trauma in your childhood. I’m so glad you have a loving family now and that you recognize their value in your life.

  28. Hi, I’m 15 and reading this post has really made me think about the relationship I share with my mum. Often she puts me down a lot and doesn’t always appreciate the things I do for her and that can be quite upsetting as all I spend my time doing is trying to feel worthy and trying to be good enough. I look back on how things used to be and realise that I’m not as happy as I used to be as I currently suffer with anxiety and possibly depression. I know that she loves me but sometimes I find myself questioning whether she does or not because she is constantly pulling out all the negative things about me and doesn’t appreciate how hard I work at school and how much effort it takes to keep going when there are so many factors pulling me down. Sometimes it makes me wonder why I even bother and it upsets me that I have almost no confidence in myself because of how self centred and mean she has become. I keep hoping things will change between us but its hard to imagine as my mum has become a very bitter and miserable person.

  29. I am not sure what to say, other than this has made me less alone. My mother has continued to bully me my entire life and I wish I was stronger. There is absolutely no acknowledgement of her own destructive capabilities. It is so subtle, yet so overwhelmingly powerful. She’s incredibly convincing. I am afraid to share because generally people don’t understand and see it as some type of character flaw in me. Are there support groups for women with such poisonous mothers? I want to succeed in life, yet I have continued to fall victim to her. I hate myself.

  30. Hello Barrie :

    Today I feel so anxious and troubled when I hear the news that my brother is coming to Denver to visit from Hong Kong. Which it means the family gathering that I have to meet with my father (a liar, and a person with a mask), and my older sister, (a narcissist) my brother, who think women are nothing, men are the king.

    I immigrant to U.S. from China 25 years ago, and today I am 56 years old American Chinese woman. I am the youngest in the family, and I have never had any doubt the character of my parents. (My mother is in the nursing home now, she is a wonderful mother, but she have verbally abused by my father many years in the past.)

    I have studied hard and worked hard in the U.S.; I have sent money and clothing to my parents when they were living in Hong Kong in the past. I even sponsored my parents come to the U.S. to live with me 8 years ago. I just wanted to take care of them and wish them happy.

    I was a real estate agent, and I worked many hours. Due to my parents do not speak English, and they do not know how to drive.
    Besides long hours of work, I have to take them to shopping, visit doctors, cook for them, clean the house for them…

    I also helped my older sister when she was 2nd time divorced 12 years ago. She has no place to live, and I let her to live with me. I gave her my clothing and food…In the end, I find out that she go thru all my staff when I was at work. I was really hurt and angry.

    6 years ago, I saw a letter my father was writing to my old brother. From the letter, I find out that my father have a lot of money. (He never offered to pay when we go to the restaurant; he never offered to help me for my mortgage, and utility bills.) In the letter, my father advised my brother do not tell me anything about money, or if I ask my brother about father’s assets; my father advised my brother just say, “Oh, I really do not know.”

    I was really hurt when I saw this letter. I realized that my father has used me as a stepping stone to the U.S… He pretend that he have no money, and he does not tell me anything about his assets. Since I started asking him to pay the partial rent, my parents moved out to the government sponsored housing with my old sister’s help immediately. (They lied to the government that he has no money).
    Since I see the true face under my father’s mask. I do not want to see him again. Now, he calls me only if he needs anything from me.

    Now, my brother arrives next Thursday, my father and my old sister says, “Let’s get together for family dinner.” But, I really do not want to see these so called “family members.” They are the selfish individuals, and all they do in their life is to take advantage of other people.

    But, in Chinese culture, if I do not go to meet with them in this “family gathering.” Which means I do not give them “the face”; they may hate me or cause me problems in the future?

    My father is 92, and he puts my old brother’s name as an executor if he dies. Which means I have to deal with my brother in the future. Basically, I do not trust these family members, they live too long in China, money is their God.

    Since I helped my family immigrant here in U.S., my happiness disappeared. I used to be a happy and successful real estate agent. Now, I am burned out by my family, and I can no longer to work. I become traumatized person. I just wanted to cry when I write to you at this moment.

    I was Google and try to find some help in the internet, then, I saw your article. Please help me; do I need to meet these evil people? How can I cope?

    Is there any group therapy you can recommend me in Denver?

    Thank you,

    Maggie

  31. Thank you for putting in words how I undertook my own estrangement from my Mom and siblings. I sometimes struggle with the disassociation. I also stopped communicating to my nieces and nephews. Not out of spite but out of love and respect for their own family ties. It is not my place to drag in the children and speak disparaging things about their parents or grandmother. I do not have any children and always felt blessed that I was loved by my extended family. However you do find out how people or family are in their darkest times and how it goes against your sensibility and you really cannot align yourself with their actions to the point it is physically making you ill. You conclude you need to separate yourself from the nastiness because their path and your path in life are at the extreme opposite poles. Peace does not come in the shape of all peaceful on the family front, it starts in your mind and your heart.

  32. My stepmother is very controlling and has bullied me for 40 years. She also, at times, has been very good to me. I finally had enough of the way she was treating, speaking to and using me, and have walked away from her. Trying to reason with her won’t achieve anything as she is never wrong. Usually I just apologize even when I have done nothing wrong, to smooth things over and for the sake of my relationship with my Dad.

    My father has Alzheimer’s, but still knows who I am and is always happy to see me. She now won’t let me speak to him on the phone or visit him.

    I feel such guilt for abandoning him at a time like this. I feel I should have hung in there just a little longer. However, with his increasing dependency, so has she turned up the level of abuse of me and my brother. I also feel such loss and sadness.

    • I feel bad that your Father has Alzheimer’s, but you are not abandoning him. Shame on her for being so cruel to you and your Brother. I am a step Mom and I wish I had the opportunity to be in my step kids life I would cherish them. Poor children of divorce have already been through enough. Maybe their is something you could do legally to see your Father.

      One of my Husbands kids have decided they want to get to know me and I am delighted. I can’t wait to spend more time and get to know her. I am so sorry you have a mean ugly person for a Step Mom. Pray for your Father and stay away from the witch. I stopped having any contact with people relatives or not that are toxic. It’s not good for you. I put up with toxic people for way too long never again. I have more peace in my life then I have ever had.

  33. My parents don’t listen too me when I tell them that my sister is starting stuff with me, unless she does it in front of them then when I try to say something even though it’s a simple thanks my step-dad gets on to me and says shut the f@#$ up boy I don’t wanna hear it, I then try to remove my self from the drama and he try’s to make me throw a punch at him and im not sure what to do, I don’t want to fight him… But I just need some help email me to help me [email protected]

  34. Due to divorce, I wound up living with my mother again. I am 36 years old & have Severe Major Depression, which had a great amount to do with my divorce. I am a state a way from my children. My mother blames me for the divorce. I’ve put on a lot of weight & she tells me I’m fat, ugly, not pretty – when I used to be otherwise.

    I realize now that she has never been supportive towards me, even when I was a child. It’s an awful situation. She is unbelievably unhappy & down right nasty. My therapist has spoken with her & says I’m the strongest person she knows because I live with her. But, it has not been without damage to my self esteem. I feel very unloved & ugly. I feel very trapped because I can’t make enough money to move away & out of here. I’m an only child. There is no family to turn to. My father won’t have anything to do with me because he is threatened by my mother. My mother doesn’t speak to either of her brothers – over money so, there are no family gatherings or support from those family members. I feel very bad about myself. I feel trapped. I go to my counselor but there is only so much she can say & do to help. She says to just let it out one ear & out the other but, that is very hard when it happens on a daily basis.

    My counselor tells me that my mother doesn’t really want me to leave. Deep down, I believe that. If I left there would be no one to beat up on. She is & has always been a very unhappy, unapologetic person for as long as I can remember. It’s wreaking havoc on my self esteem.

  35. babygirl 45 says:

    really been bothered about my mother behavior , she,s 69 1/2 six months from 70.and I am the baby girl out of five sibilings , I am married and have three grown children of my own ….my house is free from Kids,& Dogs, I do have 1granddaugther .my mother have been acting very jeaulosy ,towards my relationship with my very own kids…. I LOVE MY MOTHER ! and try to enclude her in everything we do . I never tell her how i feel , my other sister and brother don,t give damn about her ….. every body seem to be for SELF! it seem that I hurt cause I care too much . thought about writing her letter , but dont want to upset her anymore than she already is , staring to have tention in my neck ….
    PLEZ HELP !!! SOMEBODY

  36. I’m 17 and have a younger sister that’s 15. We are NOTHING alike. She has been the worst sister from day one. I mean yes there are moments but it seems now a days those moments seem to become fewer and fewer. I have gone to a counselor about this but it didn’t seem to help. I’ve talked to my parents about it but they only tell me to ignore it. I’ve found that holding in the pain of the way she treats me has caused so many emotionally problems for me and I find it only makes the relationship with my sister worse. The worst thing about it is the fact that I can barely stand being in the same house with her and it doesn’t seem to effect her at all. And it’s not that she doesn’t know I’m upset with her. She is just okay with us hating each other. I don’t even know what to do anymore.

  37. Thank you for the article.

    I grew up in a very good home, so I hate feeling the way I do about my family, but I just can’t help but feel like I’m constantly being torn down. My problem is that I when I reflect and try to improve my situation, I just don’t know what to do. I know it’s a problem on both ends, but I feel like even if I focus on improving my behavior and reactions, it will NEVER change who my parents are and their poor attitudes.

    Anyway, thank you for the article. I’m going to take as much from it as I can and stay positive. :)

  38. Hi, I’m feeling very sad right now..I don’t have a person to share my feelings with, so I’m going to speak to you instead..from my previous years, I’ve been always being compared with herself where she is always better than me..she always complains about myself for not being like other people’s daughter..she want me to like them (very pretty, very happy, have boyfriend, have pretty facebook profile picture), but their parents are always with them, supporting them, motivating them, hear their problems..I rarely tell her my problems because I know that she will yell at me..it is so depressing..I also have to appear very happy everyday because she will yell at me to for not appearing to be happy..I never go out, I have no hobby..I have no time for myself..but my younger siblings have the opposite treatment..Its because they are boys..one of them is very rude to me and she never listen to me when talk to her about him..because I’m sad, then how can I find friends..nobody wants to friends a sad person..everyone wants friends who are happy..not like me..since I’m not happy, I don’t have the feeling to approach people..I’m always busy doing my job..

    p/s: I know my comment does not have a point..I just releasing my feeling to you..thank you

    thank you for reading.. :)

    • Dear one: You really need to get active in a church. A baptist church is a good place to start, very non-judgmental and lots of friendly loving folk. What you have is toxic hateful family members, believe me I know my Dad has tried to destroy us our whole lives and then always try to play the “good grandpa” puke… Get away from them as much as possible. They are not your judges. You are smart funny sweet and pretty, and get out there and enjoy life! :)

  39. Thanks for this most helpful article. It was good to get validation that it is a painful thing when one realizes that family members can be pretty awful and it’s not your fault and it’s ok to grieve.

  40. After many years of dysfunctional family I have decided to bring it to and end. I am the only boy with 3 sisters. All my life for as long as I can remenmber I was rejected by my sisters. Never loved or protected by them. This translated into adulthood. Holidays here and there but never a closeness that I always wanted. Only cold distant.Made excuses for their lack of time with me for over 40 years. But it has reached a pojnt where as a adult if your family does not invite you to their home except maybe 3 or 4 times a year when you live in the same town…..um they really dont want you around. My parents are a nightmare and we treat them the same…avoid at all cost and do the bare minimum. The final equation is non of us love each other and only out of guilt and obligation do we spend time around each other. At imes it almost feels normal till the lack of sensarity proves me wrong. Any attempt to demand respect from them has been meet with
    contempt. I feel sorry for them and I feel sorry for me too. Yes it is like a death of a whole family But at least I have self respect now.

    • Tiffaney Gerlach says:

      It is very sad that a family can even begin to be this way. I never knew my father and my mother never wanted me, so it does follow us through adulthood and is very painful. We need to rid of these toxic people from bringing is down. I have not yet my mother, but I’m soon to do so.

  41. Tiffaney Gerlach says:

    Hi. I am a 37 year old mother to an 11 year old son, whom I cherish dearly and love so much that it makes me the mother that my mother never was to me. Growing up, my grandparents raised me, but my mom lived with us. I always felt, I was in the way, a burden, not loved by her at all!! I never new my dad until i turned 33. I have awful problems with my mom now. When she comes over, if I don’t do what she wants, she pours and is like a baby.I take care of her mother, (my grandmother) doctors, groceries, laundry etc, and her father, (my grandpa?. She does absolutely nothing, unless it benefits her or she gets paid. It sickens me so bad. She complains about having no food, yet she asks if I LOVE her new $300 purse! Are you serious???? Then starve, you idiot!. We don’t hug, I don’t tell her I LOVE her. We had a yardsale and I had to buy items from her (not surprising at all), but this one shirt I wanted bad, she gave to her friend. I have to drive anywhere, so she saves gas. She is money hungry, selfish, rude, mean, evil and she won’t stay away. She isn’t even a good grandmother. A grandmother in my opinion is suppose to spoil their grandchildren every now and then, but it’s always I would buy you something, but you know I’m always broke. She shops 4-5 times a week too. She had never loaned me or bought me food when we have went out, but I have her. My grandmother is the sweetest thing and she doe not want to go anywhere with my mom because my mom won’t help her walk and leaves her behind. I during Christmas she actually rolled her eyes at a gift my grandma gave her!!! Is that not the biggest B!!! She gets on FB. And cussed people out too. She is plain crazy and o want her out of my life. The only time she is nice to her dad is if he hands her money, if not she says eff you! No LIE. I can’t do family functions anymore because I tense up so bad when she is here. She starts an argument everytime. Thank GOD for my husband and child. What do I do about that woman who gave birth to me?!?! Please?

  42. natasha says:

    I live at home with me and my daughter and I constantly get treated like crap from my own mother who tell pple im her step daughter and my own sister. Its weird tho when my boyfriend comes around they tell me how hes such a wonderful guy and how I wouldnt do any better then him and they even treat him better then they treat me. I know its not his fault but I dont know what to do and I cant afford to move right now

  43. Natalia says:

    Reading this I’m so incredibly enlightened. Everything you have written about is the perfect parallel to my life and troubles. It’s like reading a biography. Your wisdom and solutions an just talking through each issue was so helpful and lightened my day today. The last few days I’ve been so hurt and on the verge of just breaking down, knowing there are others and people learn to cope and deal is a huge relief and gives me room to just breathe and hold on to hope. I’ve been through so many awful terrible things in my life before I I came to America. Then getting adopted and having awful things happen in my new life is so damaging to my inner and emotional self. I feel so drained sometimes! I am printing this and reading it whenever I need to be reminded. Thank you so much!

  44. Hi im 11years old and my mom is byplor its hard for me i dont know my real dad and my step dad died i live.with my grandma and grandpa there about to pass im afraid that they will both die what wl happen to me

  45. Thank you very much for this article. I needed to read this today. My family is extremely dysfunctional and I have had trouble with my older sister for about 13 years now. I am learning long the way (about Personality disorders, boundaries, etc.). I look at how I contributed to the way we are today. But I do know I have tried and realize that my attempts were faced with emotional abuse. What is most difficult is that she poisons my family against me. It is a long story, but when I first me my husband about 14 years ago, she asked him in private – “What do you see in my sister?”. When my husband informed me that she asked him that (he was my boyfriend at the time), I took it as a question that was not necessary and I confronted her. I should have never done that. Bottom line is that she did not like my husband being with me. She told me he is too old for me (he is 17 years older than me) and she would say things to me like – “He already lived his life, you are just a pillow to him”. Most of our arguments in the beginning were of her telling me things like this. She would even say that I am not happy! I do take responsibility for the way it evolved because I wanted her friendship and approval and the more I pushed for it, I pushed her away. I focused so much of my life trying to get this resolved with no resolution. In fact, when I finally got engaged she said “no you have Dennis”. I will use that as his name. I found that comment to be very hurtful. So, when I finally got married she stopped calling me even more. Recently we just had my mom’s big b-day and she would put me and my husband on a wild goose chase by telling us to look at a certain place for the party – only to tell us when we got back that she found a place and we are all set with the date and everything. She did not even apologize or even ask me how the place was that we say. But she asked me to put a deposit on it if I liked it (I was smart enough not to). Anyway, I am blabbing. But I am in a lot of pain because she cut me out and my younger sister is highly influenced by her and she cut me out as well. If I try to talk to my mom, it goes right back to my sisters and it is more drama. My Dad died about 10 years ago. My brother is not respected in the family either. My sister just creates division and I am not that strong. I need to be. Fortunately my husband is very supportive and I found this post. Thank you. Debrey

  46. my dad is a narcissist and my mum is the only “normal” parent in my house. quite the dysfunctional family……………………………………. i wanted that “dream family” like you’re mentioning. not this one…………………………………………

  47. Looking for something to make me feel better and I found this article. Thank you! I’ve always thought I had a great family. As kids we fought but that was normal. 10 years ago we lost my mom. 2 years my dad…4 years my brother. On my brothers birthday me and my remaining siblings (1 brother, 1 sister) head to the Oregon Coast and celebrate his birthday. . My sister who I have liked to consider my best friend continually attacks me. Says mean and evil thongs to me always with a just kidding tag after. Now this treatment is not new…she’s always saying mean and disrespectful this to me…about me. I know she is hurting because of the own demons in her life. Why does she take it out on me?

    • I have horrible sister.she never make me feel connection as sisters.I tried hard to be close to her unfortunately she never appreciate it. She uses me when she needs me and left me alone when I needed her most.I tried to cut her off and to move on with my life but I couldn’t do it some how some reason I want her to keep as a sister and when she treats me badly I I regret why I allow her to be in my life

  48. Hi Barrie – Your article is wonderful…thank you for writing it. I am nearly 61 years old, and have differences with my one and only sibling – my sister, a 8 yr difference. Our own family growing up was fine. Great parents. However, our own families could not be more different. I have regrets with having only one child. My son, now 22 is studying to become a Catholic Priest. Which means no grandchildren to look forward to. My sister has 2 children – son and daughter and both children are married and have 2 children each of their own – a son and daughter each. It sounds like the perfect world for them and as well for my sister and all of her family. She spends equal amounts of time with both of her children’s and grandchildren. 4 years ago I moved with my family to the same city that my sister’s daughter lives in. My sister is here 3 to 4 times a year – usually for 2 weeks at a time – but yet can barely find time to see me. Our mother passed away 4 years ago – and although our relationship prior to our mother’s death was not the greatest, it has worsened since our mother passed. I have gone for counseling and from what my counselor can conclude is that I am going thru a very difficult time with grieving for unborn grandchildren and being around my sister who from what I have told the counselor is extremely narcissitic – because everything is about her and her children and grandchildren. hMy counselor has suggested that I make myself unavailable to her when she is here. However, when my sister is here – she will only want to see me once for lunch and gives me about an hour to 2 hours of her time at most. I understand that she is here to see her daughter and family but I am only 20 mins away from where my niece lives. I am usually never asked down, certainly not with my husband for dinner. But I will admit that I am quite resentful of that she has a daughter and she has 4 grandchildren. And yes, I have a great deal of regret with only having one child (and there were reasons for it – but I did not agree with them – but it takes two to have a child – if one spouse changes his/her mind – then you have the choice to stay int he marriage or leave and hope for the best – I chose to stay as I’d never take my son away from his Dad – its a great relationship they have had over the years plus I love my spouse very very much). I know I am envious of my sister and the family she has – and I have lashed out at times at her – she tends to withdraw and not talk – that is her way of dealing with things. Then she and her daughter talk about me behind my back – I only know this because I confided to my sister some things, which later i found out she had told my niece. She also has lied to me a few times this last year. So my trust level for her has gone down – I thought that I would “always” be able to trust her, but now I have my doubts and I will never confide in her again. . I too think she is envious of me and my lifestyle with how my husband and I choose to live our lives – not only with our home, but we have lived in Paris and have traveled quite a bit. She would never say this to me but all she does is indirectly says things to let me know she is a “grandmother” and I will never have that experience in my life. She goes on about how wonderful it is that my son is going to do what he wants and that I should be happy about it. Yet – “she” is not the one who is the mother of a only child that is going to become a priest. I know for a fact she would be very unhappy if her son became a priest and her daughter a nun!). So now she was just here for 2 weeks and I had my sister and her daughter/family here for dinner one evening and they were here for about 3 hours. Yet, my sister was here for 2 weeks and that was the only time she could allow for me. I learned that my niece was off from work for t he entire week – yet my sister informed me that she was taking off a day “only” on Thursday. I believe I was lied to because this way she would not have the hassle of including me with things that the two of them might do together. I’m not asking to be with them all of the time – but I’ve also concluded that my sister wants no part of a relationship with me any longer – and what is important to her is her own family – and that having a sister is really no longer important to her. She would tell you that she does not want to spend time with me because I just criticize everything she does or what she says. I do tend to be judgemental but I think its my way of defending myself and how I think. She may say that when we are together everything is about me – and I do talk about myself more than I should – but I think its just a defense mechanism on my part. Its just so complicated. When she talks to me – she talks “down” to me – like she is the Queen and I’m a nobody – it exudes from her voice. She has bossed me my whole life – but we are 61 and 68 years old, I am not a 12 year old anymore!!! And now, my niece does the same thing to me. I just wish they could be themselves around me. They treat me like I’m really a nobody – a person that is not very important to them. I was so good to my neice and nehpew all their growing up years. My son just graduated from college. We have really noone to send out annoucements to but our own families, so we chose not to send out announcements because everyone knew he graduated. My son heard from everyone via a card except my sister. I asked her why she never congratulated me son – she said she was “waiting” for an announcement. Its July – he graduated in May. Needless to say that hurt. I guess its all about expectations – and because I have done the right thing for her kids, I expected she’d do the same for mine. I have tried thru emails to work things out between both my sister and my niece. But its 2 against one – and if I do not agree with how they think – then its a losing game. I finally gave up. Talking face to face – I’m afraid it would turn into a heated argument. Writing seems a easier way to make your thoughts known without getting a immediate reaction and ending up in a heated argument.

    So can I ask your advice on this sibling relationship of mine? How do I move forward with it? How do I move on with my own life and accept that I will not be able to look forward to my son getting married and having a family of his own that we can be involved in. Also how can I accept my sister’s circumstances of her having the kind of family that I only hoped for and not being so envious and bitter about it and her not including me anymore in her family now that my Mom has passed away? Also her arrogant and self centered ways towards me? I know that we all do not get what we want in our lives – yet, some people seem to get what they want. And how funny it is that my sister gets her boy and girl, then her daughter gets her boy and girl, and then my sister’s son gets his girl and boy. Life seems just so perfect for some and others not. I wanted 3 children – and it was my spouse who before we got married agreed to having children – plural. Our circumstances changed with work and due to this, he changed his mind and after having our son he did not want any more children – looking out for us as a family and for me as well. I did not agree to this – but if one is not in agreement and the other is – what do you do? If we had another one – and he did not want another child – would he regret having him/her the rest of its life? So I could not force him to have another child – but now I am the one with that regret for the rest of my life. I see all my friends with children (plural) and now grandchildren. It is very hard. And I know that my son will help more people in his lifetime than most any normal person that goes to work 8 hours a day and comes home to his/her family will ever do. And I’m beyond proud of him – yet I also worry about him as he grows older and we (his parents) are no longer here – he will never have anyone to love him. If he had a sibling I may not feel as strong about this as I do. Yet it is “his” life and he has to make his own life decisions and his father and I will support him no matter what. So thank you for listening and I look forward to a reply from you about how to handle all of this that I wrote to you!!!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Sue,
      Life is too precious to waste on regret, envy, and worry. In spite of the things you wish you had, I’m sure there are many parts of your life to be grateful for and happy about. If your relationships with your sister isn’t great, and it doesn’t appear she wants to make it better, then find friends who can fill that role for you. Reach out to other women, join groups, do what you can to build new, more positive relationships. Allow your son to be the person he wants to be without making him feel guilty. It is his life. If you want small children in your life, consider being a foster parent or babysitting for a local family. You can find that relationship in other ways. You are 61. You can’t change other people. You are only in charge of your own life. Choose to be happy and choose to create the happiness you desire. There are many ways to find love and fulfillment. Let it go.

  49. Hi I just came across this and feel that this may be a good time to ask for your expert advice. I am a 29 yr old married woman with a 3 yr old child. I have a mother who drives me emotionally insane and I’m afraid that she may be robbing me from the best years of my life. She grew up on a ranch in Mexico and came to the US in her early 20 ‘ s but didn’t meet and marry my father until age 33. I know that she was raised in a very unhealthy and violent yet extremely catholic home which possibly molded the person she is today. I also know that she married my dad who was an abusive alcoholic for the first 2 years of marriage but then changed his ways after they had their first daughter. I am the youngest of 4 siblings and my father passed away due an illness when I was 8. My mother is now age 71 and ever since I can remember she has been mean, selfish, cruel, controlling, judgemental, narcissistic, deppressed, and manipulative among other nasty things. However the contradictory part of all her traits is that she still can be loving in her own weird way. I used to be the closest child to her prior to me being married because I simply had more time for her which I noticed would make her more happy. However there has never been a real connection maybe because we are so far away in age or because theres not much in common with her. Also the only thing that we could ever talk about is our catholic religion. If we are not talking faith or about something or someone at church then there is no conversing with her. The funny thing is that everything she ever preaches to us is most of the time the complete opposite of her actions. Because of the way that she is most of the people that she meets tend to back away from her after really getting to know her let alone her family. Now the only real family that communicates with her are us 4 siblings but more and more as the years pass and we get older even us 4 are starting to stay away from her. This really hurts me because for the longest time I thought that there was hope in getting her help and maybe there could be a better relationship with her but after speaking with several councilors and even a priest at the church I realized that it’s me that has to learn to not let it affect me. The problem is that it’s easier said than done and for the most part I fall in a certain state of depression that affects my emotional health. I’ve been married for 9 yrs now and ever since she has this crazy jealousy issue that has made me make a separation between both her and my political family. I can never mention or do anything with them because she thinks that I only love them and not her. There’s so much to my story that I don’t think I can ever be done. I’m exhausted of trying to please her and get her approval for every aspect of my life but the love that I have for her doesn’t quite let me ignore. Please I need words of advice. Thank you so much for trying to help us heal. :)

    • I am 50 and have gone “no contact” with my mother. It was difficult at first, but the way she treated me – I just couldn’t take anymore – so very disrespectful – caused division between my siblings and my self. Then she did the same with my grown children. I tried for all this time to have a relationship with her, wanted to go and do things with her and make suggestions. She would go and do what I had suggested with one of her friends and then tell me about it. Very hurtful. Always accusing me of things that I did not do and no apology when she found out that it was not me. I would say – walk away – love her from a distance. I love my family very much, but stay away from them, as they are hurtful and mean. I don’t deserve that kind of treatment and neither do you from you mother. You will never get her approval – trust me on that one. I tried for 50 years and it just made matters worse. Know that people cannot give what they do not have. If she has no love within her heart – she can’t give any out. I see it like you can’t borrow a million dollars from someone who is broke. You can send her love silently in thought and wish her the best… but do what is best for you… and if that is staying away or limiting contact… do what you need to protect you. I have had my health improve and my life is so much better than it was when I was dealing with all of their negativity and meanness. Blessings and know that you are loved.

  50. Barrie I had to stop reading after the first few paragraphs because it was too painful to continue – after you wrote about your deceased father. I have bookmarked this so I can read it later. I can tell there are some important things in here that I need to read. Thanks for addressing this tough issue.

  51. It hurts to see this post because i am singled out as the difficult person in a family with a lot of needed therapy. I’ve been in twelve step programs, therapy and such for over 30 years. I do have trouble with my family we don’t communicate, and sometimes after not being able to reach them for days when i do i am a little put out or tired. so the conversation doesn’t warrant (for me) a bunch of chit chat. I call to find out about their life and they don’t want to tell me about it. Then I launch into my own, asking some questions along the way about the other person, and answering back when I have a comment I’d like to make. Trouble is the parenting in my family pitted us against each other. It’s just sad.

  52. My problum was my Sister in law way before my Brother even got Marryed. She tear red my like crap all the time. I told my Mother too do something about this she said just love her! I came too my Mother for years before & after but when she says bad things behind my Sister s back even my own Mother I told my Mother what she said. My Mother said it dosnt bother me. Then I couldn’t stand it I told her off I said she’s being meen then she sent my letter too my Mother my Mother punished me about the letter then Lori fakes crys too my Mother on the Phone then my Mother gets on me. When she should of stood up for her Doughters ! Sister in law was always doing these things but my Mother never cares about us.

  53. hi,
    my father died last year january’13 due to car accident. thenafter my brother behave very rudely with mom. i dont knpw what to do. presently we three are living separatly. some times my moms come to live with me.
    please tell me what to do

  54. I am forty and happliy married with teenagers but have cut my birth family out of my life in order to be where I am now.

    My birth mother, father, and male sibling are narcissists who are fake. I was emotionally abused by all of them and neglected by the male and female parent.

    It was a horrible experience spending time in that house. I could write a book about it and it is horrifying for me as I remember additional details that I couldn’t deal with as the time so I blocked them out then to get through it all.

    As a mom, I look at my own teenagers and wonder how any parent could be unloving, cruel, etc.

    The reason I am the happy person i am today is because of the maternal love of a a widowed neighbor. She was there for me and gave me the gift of acceptance. She told me my life had meaning and I deserved to be happy. She was my best friend, role model, and more. She wasn’t famous in life but was one person who didn’t have to care but did. She was the most important person in the world to me.

    If anyone ever wonders why they weren’t lovable to their own base family, I realized the answer. Love was not in their in hearts to give away. They are consumed by hate and bitternesss so that is what they gave away. I made the decision to feel my heart with love, compassion, and acceptance of others. They led by horrible examples.

    If you are reading this and feel unlovable because the people that society expects to love you do not, stop right now. I love you and others do too. Remember, you matter and make the world a better place while they take away from it. Hate consumes people and they are ugly balls of hate on the inside. Time will reveal you to be a beautiful or handsome person worthy and open to love. Love is a gift and has power. The abuses are weak but we abuse survivors ( current and former) are strong.

    In conclusion, it is going to be more than okay, Water can be thicker than blood. I am my own base family with my heart filled with a surplus of love from my dear neighbor friend. Love is a gift. Remember, if you are reading this, I love you and you are worthy of love. Pass it on. Love never ends.

    • God bless you, thank you very much; you said what i’ve been longing to hear, you’re beautiful & i love you too

  55. Just tonight (well, it’s 2:51 a.m. now) I am overcome with angst over the situation in my own life…googled “Dealing with a mean mother,” and BAM! Arrived at your site. Well-written ideas. My own mother is identical to her own mother, who died horribly lonely and mean, mean, mean.
    Now, here I am at age 51, working with a life coach and doing so well in my life these days (for 2 full years now!) However, the meanest, nastiest, ugliest person in my life is hardest to leave behind…my mother. Here is the letter I wrote to her tonight, and I have been calling upon all of my greatest angels to step forward and tell me whether to hit “send.” I am going to assume YOU are one of those angels;
    Please tell me what you think I should do…hit send or not?
    Dear Mom,

    Getting upset with someone is a normal human experience.
    Calmly telling someone they are upsetting you is pretty simple.
    Noticing only the good in someone is very possible.

    If you want to continue to have a relationship with me, you must stop blowing up. You cannot criticize my marriage, my personal appearance, my intelligence, my mannerisms, nor my friendships. I am very aware of my faults and work to improve. It’s hard work that I completely own.
    You cannot criticize my quest to be happier and more joyful.
    You cannot ignore the fact that, when I tell you that you are the only person in my life whom is mean, I am being honest.
    I do not allow that in my life anymore and I do not treat anyone that way. I can only speak to the relationship I have with you, not the relationships you have outside of ours.

    If you comment on my marriage, criticizing me for the way I am with my husband, you will have to leave my house. My friendship with George is 29 years old. We have been together for almost 20 years, married 17 of those years. For you to try and destroy that is unkind and unfair…and you must stop it now or say good-bye to us forever. We have stayed true to our vows and work together to keep the marriage rolling along, not always in the manner that you must have in your vision, but we are a successful married couple. It is not easy and I am not perfect. I make plenty of mistakes which don’t need your continual attention…I’m hard enough on myself and don’t need your added unkind words.

    The only way to avoid conflict with you is to stay away from you, which is my only means of relief. If you want to share with me a concern you have, do it like a loving mother or don’t say anything. You are not being helpful when you rip into me over things. It just makes me feel sick inside and want to get away from you, which I will do if you keep it up.

    You have approximately 20-25 years of life left to live. Do you want to be remembered as a kind woman or a woman who works very hard to correct everyone’s wrongs (at least what you consider to be wrong about everyone)? I am willing to be your daughter, but I will not be your punching bag anymore. I only try to be kind and helpful to you. There is a much more meaningful, calm, and loving way to be as mother and daughter and I am willing to explore and work with it, developing strategies that work rather than things being so ugly and hurtful.

    Mom, I am afraid for you and afraid of you and the hurtful, repeated things to say to me. I don’t hang out with mean people anymore and my life is full of joy now. Within 1 minute of entering my house last weekend, you criticized the way I hugged you. You criticized my husband’s weight within just a few seconds of the hugging incident, using a weird voice to tell him you thought he was too skinny and you made him feel badly! It’s almost as though you need a pre-speaking/filtering system to evaluate what you say before you say it…and, as I do now, opt out of saying it!

    Trying to teach me lessons, in a nasty manner, is not appreciated. I don’t ask for your evaluations and I don’t consider you a life-guide for myself.That doesn’t mean I do not love you, but I don’t value that in our relationship…I have chosen my life’s guides and they work so well for me, including the angels that surround my heart and my physical being every single moment.
    I cannot control your feelings as you’ve been reading this, but I can hope you see that I am wanting to express my needs if we are to continue to be together. I need kindness. I need to be able to talk about issues without fear. I need to be in joyful settings, even if it means we’re just watching a movie.

    I am no expert, by far, but I really believe it is time for you to do some work. I know you feel badly inside, often, and that is not fair to you. One thing to consider is visiting your doctor and explaining the situation, if you see it truly exists and want to work on it.(There was a time in my life where I took Celexa to get me over a hump I was having socially…and it worked for me then). It is no fun going through life feeling such angst all of the time and having conflict with others. I found a way to do that and it works for me so well, but it is hard work and I sometimes fail, miserably. I can only hope that everyone, including you, finds a path of joy and love in life that brings about daily, moment-to-moment calm. Do not criticize me by saying, “You’ve changed,” but instead, see that my change has brought about more joy, love, and laughter. As long as you choose to focus on seeing me in such a negative way, you will only see the things in me that make you angry and hateful. I am not angry and I am not hateful. I love my family and friends very much. I love my husband even more. I have no intention of trying to teach you anything, as you must travel the path you wish for your journey through this phase of life. I hope your path is warm, soft, and filled with love and laughter, more than you’ve ever experienced in all of your life. I know I value those things more now than ever and have a quest to find even more! As I head into my second half of life, I want a daily adventure, to see something beautiful, and to hear words that make me wonder and grow in the human experience.

    People will not remember everything you say.
    People will not remember everything you do.
    But, people will never forget how you made them feel.

    I remind myself of that every day and try my hardest to live it.

    • Yes you should definitely send the letter. I know exactly how you feel bc my own mother is the same. The letter is very well written. You are lucky in the sense that you have your husband. I am completely on my own so I don’t have any emotional support. I posted my letter on sept 2 if you wish to read it. Best wishes for you to find some sort of peace with your mom.

  56. Great article and much needed in the world today. I have experienced family alienation first hand and know the pain, sadness and grief that engulfs you. The anger, hostility and hatred that is so dominant in others, when all you have is love to give. The way that you are treated is so painful and it is something that they would never want to happen to them, so why would they treat another that way? Believing all of what others say and never asking you if it is true or not – not even wanting to hear your side of the story. I have written 2 books about my experiences to offer hope to others. “Letting Go” and “Looking for Beauty Within (when you’re the one left out)” There is a lot of love in this world and it is up to us to surround ourselves with people who love us.. We need to stay away from those that have a negative impact on us. It is difficult to do when it is your own mother, father, siblings or children. Even more difficult when it is all but one of them that you lose into the dysfunction. None of them know you or even care to get to know you, they just heap their hurt upon you and you need to protect yourself. You have a lot to offer the world. Discover how beautiful you really are… be the you – you were created to be. Blessings and love to all.

  57. The pain is horrendous, but we will survive. I have experienced family alienation and it is extremely painful to deal with when you see them all band together against you and all you want to do is love them and be treated decently. I wrote two books about my experiences and the journey through. “Letting Go” and “Looking for Beauty Within (when you are the one left out). I hope that these books and blogs such as yours encourage others and help give them strength and hope. There is a life of love and joy after the pain. Blessings and love to all.

  58. well i was reading and a lot what you say is right. well it’s been along time for me . but i left my father at age 14 move to live with my mother . she was remarried and my step father never cared anything about me . not one thing he only used me all my life until lately .i’m 45 now he passed away and i thought thing would change with my mother wrong . see my step father was very metal abuse ,beating ,guns pulled on me my mother ,ect. but now she say he was good to me and all you boys . i look at her and laugh . i didn’t
    mean too just came out .i know she going through a sad time in her life . there are 7 kids in the family and
    only clams one that’s bullshit . i did everything for her and now i wonder if she was using me like my step father was . now that i think about it she was . they always did the blame game oh it’s him or he would say it’s your mother . but beside that i want nothing to do with that family i’ve forgiven to may times thing fine for awhile then back to the same thing again . i love her it’s time to let her go move
    on and try to be happy . i know i’ve tryed he she was my whole world but i must not be her’s

    thank you sad

  59. I am so glad I found this, thank you for some great advice! Next month, my immediate family (parents, me and my two sisters, I’m the middle child) will all be together for the first time in months, for a cousin’s wedding. My older sister (she’s 27; there’s two years between each of us) moved to London in January for a job transfer. I’m currently living in Cape Cod with my dad, my younger sister is in Buffalo with my mom (parents are separated, still on pretty much cordial terms for the most part). I am really looking forward to my cousin’s wedding, a bunch of my other cousins who I don’t get to see a lot will be there so it should be a lot of fun to see everyone. What is stressing me out though is how my immediate family is going to be around each other. The last time all 5 of us were together (last Christmas) things were okay for the first few days- and then, as happens most every time the 5 of us are together for something, an argument broke out, feelings were hurt and boy were there a lot of tears. One of the big kickers is my older sister, whom I will call “Sara.” Sara and I have never really been that close; we have very little in common and I honestly have my doubts that she actually likes me that much; loves me in a “you mess with my sister and will mess you up,” kinda way, sure. But I could count on two hands the number of times we’ve done something together and had fun- I lost track a long time ago of how many times she has driven me to tears a long time ago. Yes, I am a little different. I’ve always been a bit shy and it was just recently that I found out I have PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder) so I’ve always processed things a little differently. I don’t know if its that Sara just doesn’t understand the full extent of how my mind works differently, or that she doesn’t care- the way she’s talked to me- and at me- in the past, half the time she honestly seems to think I use it as some kind of excuse- as if I could just magically flick a switch and be “normal.” She can be incredibly hurtful with her words though, she is one of the most judgmental, critical people I know, and I know this sounds harsh but I am so glad she’s in England now- and last my mom said, she’s liking it enough there that she told her boss she’d be happy to stay for quite a bit longer- so for all I know, she could be staying over there for another two years or more. And considering how much she stresses the hell out of me, the less I have to see of her the better. Please understand, I really, really do try and understand Sara’s point of view- in a lot of ways, we’re actually kind of similar in personality and that’s why I think we clash a lot. But when she just starts yelling, being too harshly sarcastic, hurling out hurtful comments (and then insisting that she’s just being honest and of course I’m too darn sensitive), I just don’t know what to do with that. With so much of our extended family being around over that weekend though, I’m hoping there will be enough distractions where we just won’t have time to get on each other’s nerves. Thank you so much for writing this, this is going to be a great help to me.

  60. As a child l would be left alone with either parent whilst my Aunt, Uncle and Grandma came and picked sister and brother up for days out. I never understood what I had done wrong. My parents with encouragment from my auntie had birthday parties for my siblings but never for me.
    One day when I was 16 I was kicked out for supposedly having sex with my boyfriend. Of course this was not true and my sister and her friend had lied to get me in trouble. My dad beat me.He had already left our family to be with a girl 2 years older than me. My mum just went along with him.
    I went to live with my b/friends family and after a couple of months we got our own flat. It was peaceful and I had my daughter a couple of years later. I got the odd visit from family. My mum enjoyed time with my daughter. My brother and sister used to turn up and help themselves to food in the cupboards tbey were adults.
    My dad had moved on to his new family with 3 more kids and hardly saw us. I wasn’t that fussed.
    My mum moved away and never gave me her new address. I had to ring my other aunt to get her number. I dont know why she cut contact. Some time later my sister had a child and then my mum stopped bothering with my kids. Every conversation with my mum was *** (sister) and ***(niece) that when I would call or visit. This has gone on for 17 years. I Have a loving husband and 3 great kids and have just got on with my life. Anyway my mum passed last week and because I didn’t choose to see her suffer at the end my family are trying to argue with me anything I say is met with a negative response. I have changed my number as they keep phoning me up for an argument then saying mum would be ashamed of me. Everyone else has taken control of mum’s funeral etc. But my dad has tried to force me to interfere he split with his second wife years ago. All the family have turned against me and they blame my hubby and he’s done nothing. I ha e chosen not to go to my mum’s funeral which my dad is borrowing money off my aunt to pay for.

  61. my mom is having a tough time when my cousin came in our house to stay and he got me banned of riding my bike and now my mom is now mad at me and yells at me everyday and every second like one second ago now my sister is being mean to me i need help now and now i feel like my mom likes my cousin more than me

  62. :( why am i the victim

  63. I’m in a similar situation with my family. One of my sisters is a force of destruction. Her narcissistic personality has broken our family beyond recognition. I decided due to her behaviors that she feels justified in doing, to cut myself away from her and her petulant behavior. It has been a hard road. Just recently she had a baby and it truly hurts that I have no contact with my one and only niece. I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing but she continues to do terrible things and feels justified in her actions. Refusing to apologize for the hurt she has caused. I can’t put up with the nonsense but in meanwhile every conversation with my parents and other sibling ends up in arguments about her. Though most understand why I chose to cut the relationship, they do tnoy agree with the severity of the cut ties. All of them remain in contact with her even though she continues to hurt everyone.

  64. Very interesting stories, and mine is not any different. I lost my Mom at a young at and grew up with my Dad. He got re-married a few years later, and I was on the backburner. One time he suggested we go on s camping trip next summer. Next summer came, and he took his new wife on it. She has an older daughter, who had the good grades in school. Then, there I was struggling, and finally graduated and joined the military. I spent 10 plus years and was forced out on downsizing. The first couple years out of the military I stayed afloat. Then everything came crashing, that coming Xmas my step- mom had to buy gifts for me. It was a night, I did not want to be around the Christmas tree. Felt horrible, pissed off, and wanted to go home. Then the next morning for church, my Dad says he wanted to give me one of his gold necklaces- then says, “If you have plans to pawn this, just give it back”…..that was very hurtful comment, on top of the crap already on my shoulders. My Dad and step-mom, always treat me like crap. One time my Dad came in my room and destroyed all my 1st place (5years worth) trophies ad model planes in a pissed off rage. Step-mom was evil to me growing up. To this day we visit maybe once a month, I like my distance- seems like every meeting turns into, “Yes , we are better then you b.s.” Not a good enviroment.

  65. Many things you mention here really remind me of my mother. She showed some little occasional signs of resentment when I was growing up but was most of the time a very good and loving parent and we had a very close relationship, until my early 20s when she gradually began to change. I’ve always been a very polite and respectful daughter, and I never went through a rebellion phase growing up (unlike most of my peers). She denies it but I’m pretty sure that it is the fact that my looks are personality are so much like my late father’s (he passed away when I was small but had treated her badly, although he was great to me). I don’t have his temper and I’m not abusive at all and get along with most people, but I’m emotional and sensitive like him and I just have a lot of his mannerisms and personality type. She now as an older person resents him much, much more than she did when I was growing up. She’s become extremely bitter and hurtful. She seldom sees me at all but expects me to call her regularly and if I don’t she becomes angry and even retaliates (such as not answering the phone for a very extended period). She is my only family and we live in a reserved country that is not our own (well I’m in that country part-time now) so she knows I need her as family. I feel part of what she does is because of her own issues but the way it is done seems designed also to make her completely in control. I did try once saying, “fine if this is how you treat me, I know you really want me to call you even internationally when it is expensive for me, but until you sort out how to treat me better I’ll have to call a little less”. The result was that she didn’t answer the phone for 2 years and I was extremely worried about her; it was also very shocking and torturous.

    It bothers her that I’m highly sensitive and she’s spent her whole life trying to get me to change (of course, much of this has only been that she misunderstood HSP, but even when as an adult I told her I was comfortable with myself as I am and like how I am, she tried to persuade me that I was all wrong). She has an aggressive, forceful personality and thinks her way is the only way to be. But another thing you mentioned that really encouraged me was your saying how the family member’s behavior can bring out the worst in us. I’m by no means an abusive person, and the many people I meet all the time in many countries plus good friends could vouch for this. I come across more as being softer than I actually am (the opposite of aggressive or abusive) which also makes me upset since being an HSP many people don’t realize how strong I am and that I can be very assertive when it is actually needed. However, I’ve had times when I’ve felt so resentful and hurt by my mother’s changed behavior towards me as an adult that I’ve not been able to hide it any longer and got upset with her about it. One of these times was when after years of not seeing me she let me stay with her on one visit from overseas. I was thrilled and even though she started lashing out at me I did my best to hide my reaction, but finally her lashing out plus all the hurt I’d built up for so long meant that I’d sometimes get upset with her (it would be as a reaction to being nice and then her lashing out). Then she’d immediately pounce on my reaction and say that there you go, I am abusive (I’d imagine she meant like my father — that I’d somehow inherited it from him) and then twist it around. She then decided I wasn’t to see her again after that but I still had to keep calling her or she’d get upset. (Btw she has an international call plan on her phone but refused to use it to call me even though she could have made me very cheap, nearly free phone calls).

    Anyway, I’m glad to see that you are saying that there’s nothing wrong with us ourselves feeling upset and sometimes not being able to hide our own hurt. I knew this of course theoretically but she is so forceful that she can half convince me and also convince all the people around her that the problem is me, and not her (the poor older victim). She has actually managed to turn a few people against me this way who never had the chance to get to know me or even meet me themselves, so that the time she disappeared for nearly 2 years and I was so worried about her (she has injuries) that I called up someone near her to tell me if she were okay, he lashed out at me himself and told me all the garbage she had convinced him about me, even though he’s only ever said “hi” to me a couple of times in the past and doesn’t know me at all.

    Incidentally, I’m also the closest person to her. The culture she lives in is not friendly at all, and shes also very reserved (I’m much more outgoing) so she has no real friends and only talks to the housekeepers. She can only tell meaningful things to me, which she does over the phone. She also controls the phone schedule so I cant call her more or less than she wants or she lashes out.

    In addition, please don’t think in terms of stereotypes of older people. She is very intelligent, educated, extremely well travelled and very level-headed (except in this behavior) and does not have any “aging” problems with her mind at all (and there’s also none of that in our family). She’s perfectly normal that way. And no clinical mental problems either. She’s just extremely bitter and negative (but thinks she is positive). She also has a cold, gossipy family in our birth country (most of whom I can only superficially get along with; they divide into groups and gossip about one another. I’m a neutral there since I hardly know them and treat them all the same, since I grew up mostly in the other “cold” country).

    Any input would be great. Im not a bitter person myself, I’m very friendly, but I’m also very sensitive and I’m a person who really needs family and all I have is her.

  66. I know that this doughter is steeling Money & her Father s house away from her Father just too get the money she wants too Divorce her great husbend & fley the State! I know what she has in mind but her own Father s too blind too see what she rely is doing. She did something bad years ago but her own Father dosnt care what she dose he thinks she’s the Queen of his own House but he can’t see what she rely is. I think she rely is trying too Chet her own Father too sine pepers over too her soo she can Chet him out of his own money but he can’t see that ! His Wife say don’t do it Pete that’s his name his Doughter is Ona!

  67. My wife’s mother has an amazing knack of twisting the knife at every point in my wife’s life. There has been so many times and my wife has had to just put up with it and move on. I have challenged her behavior but it’s as if she just doesn’t get it or just doesn’t want to know. Unfortunately after my moment of enlightenment she decided to excumunicate my wife and our one year old son. Move on five years and my wife thought I have to be an adult about it and speak to her for the sake of our two boys. Move on another four years and she is trying to twist our kids heads but they have already clicked at what she is doing. My point is we have had 24 years of this behavior (my wife had 40 years of it) and we still can’t get it through to her that this is not normal. Also I can’t get my head around that a so called mother cannot love her daughter especially when my wife has and would do anything for her mother. How does my wife get over this loss and move on. We know her grandmother was a bitch but for heavens sake break the cycle. My wife is a brilliant mother and brilliant wife but this has wrecked her life.

  68. I have no problems with my parents, but I have problems with my younger sister. She is like Cinderella, but spoiled and throws a tantrum all the time. My older sister is like test subject number 1, I am test subject number 2, and she is the “beutiful snowflake”. Even with my older sister, she gets in the way. She always hang out with my older sister. My older sister is great, we are in most of our fandoms, we can relate more, and then there is my other sister.
    My sister also treats me like a parasite. When I am in the same room is her, she runs and say “Oh no, she’s coming!” And goes to another room and stuts the door, playing her Pokemon game. Even when we are sick, the gets more care. I am the only person in this family that has to get everything by herself.
    I am in that annoying age in life, 12, but at least I’m not emo or mainstream or have a facebook, like all the other kids at my age, but it makes it harder to make friends. When I make friends with someone, they would still be better friends with someone else. It’s not like it’s better at home. The only thing that is keepimg me happy is my fandoms (Doctor who, Sherlock, etc,) and relatable characters from Studio Ghibli movies.

    I know that this is not as bad as other people above me, but I’m just sharing my feelings.

    ” The wind is rising! We must try to live! ”

    – A quote by Paul Valèry (though I heard this from Kaze Tachinu)

  69. the only problem have is being mistreated now that am older and single. Seeing my reputation and lies fold about me on facebook truly hurt. Oh well guess never received emotional love from certain peoplae had enough therapy. Yes I’m poor, yes i emotionally hurt over bad situations and yes i am a handle with care person. It’s a shame that certain family members have nothing better to do than to play favorites and care for only some when blood should be thicker than water. Oh well. Shame on you not on me. Happiness is mine your loss in not wanting to know me. Not my shame on me.
    I love whom am. can you say that for you? and I do forgive you all and i do love you even if you don’t love me.

  70. The relationship I have with my mother is the most hurtful and painful I have had my entire life. It is sad. And I am exhausted.
    Growing up it was my mom and my sister and my stepfather. I was not close with any of them. My mother was mostly mentally abusive. She was always unhappy. Always yelling it seemed like. And all attention pretty much had to be focused on her.
    As I am a 49 year old woman now…I can barely tolerate her or her behavior anymore. I don’t enjoy her company nor do I wish to be around her.
    I hate when people say to me…but she’s your mother. Or they say…I am sure she is not that bad. She is.
    She is now 74. And has various health issues. Of course I feel bad for her. And would like to be there for her but she is just that mean I can’t take it anymore. I saw her for the first time in two years over a month ago and she just couldn’t help herself…she made a rude comment again. And this time I answered her back. And she threw a fit. If you don’t listen to my mother talk at you for hours…telling the same story over and over again. If you don’t agree with everything she says…it’s an argument.
    She has no friends.
    She is alone and lonely.
    My sister has a husband and four kids. And the only reason she puts up with it so she can inherit my mothers condo. Sad but true. Of course she doesn’t say this but I know it to be true.
    If you even remotely try to have any sort of conversation with her about how she is…it turns into a name calling session. And she will remind you of every thing you have done wrong since you were born. Or what she thinks you have done wrong.
    If you dare tell the truth of something she said or did that wasn’t nice…she denies it. Oh I could go on and on but again am so exhausted and emotionally drained from the years of abuse.
    And oh when they say don’t blame your parents. What a load of crap. Wouldn’t it be nice that we were like robots and could program ourselves to forget? We are products of our environment. And what was done to us in our childhood…good or bad…carries over into our adulthood whether we like it or not.
    I hope all the people out there that were abused by family members whie growing up can try to find some peace one day.
    I appreciate this website for acknowledging and understanding.

  71. My spouse’s mother has chosen the untrustworthy crackhead child over the hardworking, do anything and everything she asks for her child.(my spouse.) It breaks my heart to see them treated in such a way. But if you knew the mother, you’d understand. I feel it upsets me more than my spouse. How can I just get over it, and move on?

  72. I searched online for a possible explanation to what I’ve dealt with all of my life. After reading all of the comments, I feel there might be more people who have issues like these than don’t.

    When I was a kid growing up you just accept things as they are. you might think or even know something is wrong but your family is your family so you work with the hand you’re dealt. As you age you begin to think about different events that happened in your life. you remember things said, how you were treated, what you were told and sometimes even what you weren’t told but found out later! I can’t confirm it but I’ve come to the conclusion I was a mistake. And, given the ethnicity, religion and generation of my parents they did what many young people did, they got married. It all seems to come together after you yourself become a parent and you begin to remember things said. That aside, it is hard when you arrive at the conclusion that the treatment you received throughout your life was the product of resentment that I had no control of creating. Once becoming aware of this treatment to be different than that of other siblings you begin to feel the anger. This anger I never had before this realization. Before it was just a confusion and a self blaming that I must not have lived up to their expectations of me. but, I actually far exceeded even their own station in life, so much so that I did for them what the average parent would do for their child. Even though I did those things the resentment, criticism and ridicule not only didn’t decrease it increased! It seemed to upset them that this person who because I existed changed and ruined their lives was now making their lot in life better and it seemed to insult them as if my efforts to help them and my kindness toward them embarrassed them because of the truth they held inside. I grew to resent them as well! I didn’t understand where they were coming from. I decided to just accept it and stop trying to make it better. I knew in my heart I did all I could for them. Others, friends and family knew it too and told me of how proud they were for what I did for them. I think that only served to fuel their frustration and resentment!

    I came to favor my Father far more than my mother. My father probably had plenty to say and critic behind my back but he was always helpful to me in every project I undertook. I’m think it was his way of showing he appreciated my efforts. My mother not only never appreciated any of it, she openly critiqued and even lied to others that what I had done for her, another sibling had done or that she did these things herself. I could go on for days about her device ways. she insured that my relationships with other siblings were poisoned. I guess in her mind it was my payback for being conceived.

    however, your article gave me coping skills to use with her . Instead of this anger that I’ve developed over the years, I now have and will feel compassion for her. She didn’t have the best home life either and she truly never was taught properly the coping skills of having the responsibilities of a family. a teenage mother, a raging alcoholic for her own mother. She had/has low self esteem, not much formal education and was frustrated through her own inability to succeed all her life. As I now think about it I was an easy target for her frustrations in life. you just don’t know these things when you’re a kid and it is painful once you come to this realization. I have always made a concerted effort my entire life to not do anything my parents did when it came to raising my own children. I have absolutely no trouble telling them I love them, supporting them in all their endeavors and creating an open line of communication at all times about anything and everything!

    Thanks for your article.

  73. My sister is very nasty towards me sometimes. I’m reading through the comments and I realize that a lot of other people have worse and more dysfunctional families than mine. But nevertheless, a problem is a problem no matter how little. I don’t really want to give up our ages but my sister and I are still young enough to not be able to move out. Before I tell my story, I would like to make it clear that I am not an aggressive or mean person. But my sister on the other hand is. Sometimes we can be best friends and share our problems with each other, but on other occasions she can be very mean to me. She will often have a very snappy attitude and she will not include me in her problems. She would rather tell one of her friends than me, I do understand that friends are very important at her age and she needs to share secrets with them. But, I consider her one of my best friends a I just wish she would think the same. I am very nice to her and I do things for her that would definitely earn he trust. I’ve never deceived or done anything that would make her think of me as someone she couldn’t call loyal. She shuts me out and sometimes treats me as if I’m bulletproof. But I’m not, I’m still quite young and I still get hurt. Sometimes I wonder if she actually believes that the world revolves around her. She can also act two-faced. I do talk to her in a calm manner and she’ll agree to “try” to stop doing what she’s doing to hurt me. Of course after a few days this promise wears off and she’ll go back to how she was. My Mom is also inactive in this. I will talk to her about it as well but she doesn’t give too much great advice. She offers to talk to my sister, but then my sister will call me a snitch and tell all of her friends. (She is two years older than me by the way.) I do so many good things for her and I know it not healthy to expect anything from her in return and I don’t do it because I want something from her, I do it because I like to make people happy. She will quickly forget about everything I have done for her in the past and continue to act nasty towards me. This article did help me. I an actually considering to go to the school counselor now. (I don’t want my Mom to spend unnecessary money on me.) I obviously can’t distance myself from her because we live with each other and sometimes when I’m mad at her, I’ll forget that I’m mad at her and talk to giving her the impression that I am not mad at her. Even though subconsciously I am. Also when I tell my sister I’m mad at her she won’t do anything. She’ll say something like, “okay…” Or “sorry.” But it doesn’t help. Please respond I would like somebody to talk to. I don’t know if I should put my e-mail address in this comment so that I can communicate in a more private way, but if someone replies, I would love to talk some more. And yes my sister has had things in the past that would make her slightly cold, but still I find it hard to relate to her and feel compassion towards her when she rolling her eyes and ignoring me. Also, will this send me an e-mail if someone replies? :P

  74. I’ve been searching for information like this on the internet to help me work through a person situation within my life.

    It’s incredibly hard to understand why a sister and father would want to sabotage the life of a sister and daughter . However it’s not impossible to get through and learn to use your own energies to ensure success in your own life and grow whatever that means to the individual.

    It’s “their” errors, “their” issues, how we as a victim of it responds and not reacts to it, is everything and tell us who we are as people.

    Be successful, courageous, and let them lean against an open door.

    Envy comes in many forms and it’s never has a positive foundation.

    Thank you so much for writing the articles and also thank god for wonderful mothers, my wonderful mummy.

  75. I am currently in a situation with my sister in law of less than one year. She was being verbally abusive to her boyfriend and (us outlaws we stick together) he confided in me how upset he was with her verbally bashing him over something as small as getting my sister in law the wrong stuffed animal (they are both over 21). I responded to his text and said that well karma sucks and one day she’ll get hers and if he’s unhappy to reevaluate his thoughts because he was a nice person and deserved to be treated nicely. My sister in law one night decided to go through his personal property and scan his phone, and found the text messages between the two of us. She stormed out of our house and went back to her house. Later that night, the boyfriend contacted me again and said that she was trying to take her own life of which proper authorities were called by her parents and taken care of. It’s almost been almost a year now and she won’t talk to me or my husband, ignored us at family functions purposely, and then out of a blue started talking to me again. I confronted her and she denies ignoring us and apologized via text message, of which I told her was not acceptable because she doesn’t understand how hurtful her actions have been by ostracizing me for the past almost year. Her entire family thinks that she is mean and says “that’s just how she is,” but me coming from a different family, I don’t believe in being broadsided and walked all over. I am the person who drops what they are doing to go help anyone in need, even if they’ve been ignoring me etc. Now my mother in law is getting involved and saying how stupid it is for me to be upset with the way I’ve been treated/singled out and that’s just how her daughter is and can’t help it. I am so at a loss – my husband and I fight all of the time regarding this situation to the point where I am ready to leave because I don’t want to raise any children in such a negative environment. I know some people would say to just cut the bad out of my life, but when you run a family business it’s not the easiest thing to just drop a portion. I feel like in the end I’m the mean one…

  76. Hello,

    I am really glad I read this article. My mother thinks I should hate myself and spent my entire life telling me to change my personality and that I am useless. I have worked through a lot of the self esteem issues but she has made me feel so unloved. Unfortunately I got into some financial issues and my five year old son and I had to move in with her. She does the same thing to him and calls him a retard if he makes a simple mistake and tells him and myself that there is something wrong with him. Any time I tell her not to talk that way she comes at me full force with how I am a horrible parent and no one will want me and it destoys me every time only I don’t do anything because better me then my son. I just don’t know what to do about any of it. Everything I have accomplished with my self worth she is destroying all over again.

  77. I appreciated and learned from your article, and cried over the pain that your readers expressed in the comments. Because I am deeply enmeshed in a confounding family dilemma, I am constantly trying to sort things out, and looking for healing insight. As I read, a new realization about “unconditional love” occurred to me: Between a parent and adult child, can ‘unconditional love really be an equal two-way street? The child says, “My childhood was good, and I love my parent(s) – As Is. The parent hopefully loves, and likes (very important) and respects, the child – As Is. Forgiveness of past misdemeanors is mandatory! What if an offended parent says to the adult child, “If you love me, then you’ll do it my way. If you don’t do it my way, then you are being abusive and disrespectful”. The adult child may respond through words (or actions), “I am an adult, and need to make my own decisions, even if you are not in agreement”. Since the adult child is constantly expected to become increasingly more mature and independent, shouldn’t the parent(s) also become more mature and independent, without becoming disrespectful? Thank you for your blog.

  78. I have been dealing with toxic behaviour for the majority of my life. As I am now a 21 man I am a full grown adult and I act like an adult. I am very caring to others by providing them with my down to earth and caring personality. However, the biggest issue that I can’t seem to get off my shoulder is my Mum. She is a single parent as she separated from my Dad 9 years ago. She hasn’t had any one in her life since, apart from me and my sister. I am doing something with my life by studying modern languages at university which I hope to use them in the future by going into interpreting. She seems to always shout and swear at me saying that I won’t get any where in life and “you are living in a dream world or Sam’s world” that I need to get my act together and be in the “real world”. I have had many jobs since I left school at 16, unlike many of my friends who can’t be bothered and do not even try. I do things for my Mum by cleaning the whole house when she is at work or goes away on holiday but she still has to criticize something. It really gets me upset and down and sometime I feel that I don’t what to be part of her life and try and stay away from her as much as possible. She always say you follow my rules as this is my house or go and f**k off and live with your dad to see if he will put up with you. I have spoken to one of her friends and she says that your Mum is a difficult person and she never wanted a boy. Could I have really helped that? I hope to get some concrete advice.
    King Regards

  79. that was really helpful. I hope someother ppl can realise that they should not bear burden to their shoulders but they should seek advices and all the shadows will vanish. They need to know what is best for them to heal their pains and live a healthy life for the sake of their children. Thank you very much you really offloaded my frustrations

  80. Barrie….first of all…i can’t stop myself from appreciating you for being gifted by god such a PATIENCE and a KIND heart to offer your EAR to people’s problems..GOD BLESS YOU.. Coming to the topic…i would like to introduce myself..I’m from INDIA…where we are believed to have a STRONG FAMILY SYSTEM…but we do often encounter some problems..with our parents, siblings, spouses…..and especially Inlaws…parents of ones spouse…esp for the girl..when she is married…here in India…she goes to the other family…leaving her own parents…n systems and this is the crucial part of her life where she needs to ADAPT herself to the most in her life for almost every thing adjusting to her new LIFESTYLE, RESPONSIBILITIES, PEOPLE AROUND(If they happen to live together and most often it happens) and an Indian married woman faces such difficult times at her early marriage times , while she forms a new bond with her new husband( almost a stranger, since here in India , most of the marriages have been arranged by the parents based on financial status, religion, caste, etc…and most of the times not allowed for dating before marriage) ..so just imagine a GIRL lived her life differently with her parents for her quarter of her life suddenly switches to some environment and trying to adapt herself to the WHOLE NEW environment..while trying to establish her niche there ……she faces SO MANY CHALLENGES there in changing her lifestyle, handling her responsibilities taking care of the strangers(including husband), taking her work life simultaneously….its UNIMAGINABLE…Here when it comes to me i am one SUCH an unfortunate person facing difficulties in handling my MOTHER IN LAW(MOTHER OF MY HUSBAND) …she is very possessive about her son and can’t spare our togetherness…My father in law..was a marine employee..and he was away from most of the time..so she was almost a kind of single parent and developed so much POSSESSIVENESS for her son..after myself coming into his life…she started feeling some sort of insecurity and started creating problems in our marital life…complaining all the time about me….which raised arguments between my spouse and myself…i have undergone even a miscarriage because of her behavior which i was taking so much to my heart and started revolting back…and my husband cannot balance most of the situations and stressed out…Right now i m in a very bad situation where i m away from my husband…n in order to go there i need to accept her behavior…inspite of all the pains i have been through…i am unable to digest my husbands helplessness and he can’t speak a word against her…we have been married for two years and i love my husband a lot and don’t want to disturb my relationship for the sake of his mom….but i am stressed out to handle her if i go back and stay together….your article helped me a lot in MAKING UP MY MIND….please also pay attention to different cultures one such INDIA….and try to expand your writings that will help everyone in this world irrespective of geographical and cultural barriers…WHICH EVER NATIONALITY THE PERSON MIGHT BELONG..HANDLING A DIFFICULT FAMILY MEMBER IS A DIFFICULT TASK….AND NOT ALL THE TIMES WE COULD LET THEM GO FOR THEY THEMSELVES LOVE US OR MAY BE FOR THE SAKE OF SOMEOTHER WE LOVE..just like my case….please do consider…hope i could help u in getting some more information about other important difficult persons in your life to be handled….with COURAGE…just in my case…THANK U….BARRIE..

  81. I definitely needed to hear this today. It hurts on such a deep level that my mother and brother are so utterly dysfunctional and resort to such truly low behavior in order to create chaos and pit me against the other, when neither side is “right”. It is so overwhelming and difficult. I am just so tired of it. Enough is enough!

  82. Deborah McGinn-Tytler says:

    I appreciate that you have posted this article regarding family relationships, however, it seems you only look at the issues from the “child’s” point of view. I was a single parent for most of my children’s lives. I thought I was doing a good job raising them with the help of my parents in the summer time. My parents were both school teachers and asked both my sister and I to send our kids down to them in the summer so they could spend time with them and so they wouldn’t be “latch Key” kids while we were working. We both did but for some reason my children (particularly my son) interpreted this as “getting rid” of him and his sister for the summer. Even though I went to my parent’s house almost every weekend all summer long, even though they asked for the kids to come. I didn’t find this out until my mother passed away, and suddenly neither of my children would take my phone calls, I sent emails and this is the information I got from my son, my daughter just said she needed “space”. Their other complaint is that I wasn’t truthful with them about the family finances…I didn’t tell them when I was broke (how is that a flaw?) . I just went without and made sure they had what they needed. I am now the sole caretaker for my father who is 91, I rarely hear from my children and nine times out of ten they don’t answer the phone when I call nor call me back unless I leave a message that “it’s about grandpa.” The one time they have been to visit their grandfather since his birthday last February was while I was out of town on business. I made sure they both had good food, clothing and a roof over their heads, both went to college and have degrees and both are married and appear to have good relationships (how bad a job could I have done if this is the case?) Interestingly, one of my son’s issues is that I didn’t “allow” him to have a relationship with his other grandparents, quite frankly his other grandparents never asked us to come visit, never called and only sent an occasional birthday card, how was I supposed to create a relationship from that? and yet my son not honoring my invitations to his family to visit is not “allowing” me to have a relationship with his sons. I don’t know how to fix this, any suggestions would be welcome.

    • You’re right that this is only from a child’s perspective. I have a 22yo daughter that I very much wish I had a better relationship with but, sadly, have to acknowledge will never happen. She has a very checkered and unfortunate past with her father that she has decided to take out on me since she was 14. I thought she was starting to move past it but I really don’t think she is – and I don’t think she ever will. I do my best to try and build our relationship. I try to speak to her with love and respect (until I can’t take her nastiness any longer and I snap!), there is no physical displays of affection as she openly flinches if I try to hug her or put my arm around her, I help her financially because I hate to see her struggle, I try to give her support, guidance and advice whenever she asks for it – albeit that it usually comes with some nasty, vitriolic, sarcastic comment as a response (although she usually takes the advice and finds that it works/fixes the problem etc. never apologises for the nastiness though…). I had another experience with her this morning. She came to my house so I could help her update her resume and write a job application. I took Saturday morning out of my weekend to help her with this. She sat there and swore at me and complained the whole time that it was taking too long because she “had other things to do”. Her tone was completely rude and insulting, she even said to me – in a very malicious tone – that she was thinking about taking out a bank loan so she didn’t have to owe me any money as she’d rather owe the bank thank me (I’ve never asked her to replay anything I’ve given her as I’ve always considered it a gift but she keeps a running total in her mind). Please know that I don’t give a toss about money and have never made a point of it when I’ve helped her with things like car repairs, medical costs or utility bills – she is one that makes a big deal about it. Anyway, I am starting to reach a point where I will have to say to her “I love you” but I can’t have you in my life in future. You seem incapable of showing me any love or respect and it makes me feel terribly sad as a person and a parent and I just don’t want that it my life anymore. I must add that I Have a son who I have a terrific relationship with. He rings me every couple of weeks to to catch up for lunch and just chat about everything that is going on in our lives. He knows what his sister is like and says to me that he’s at a loss about how issues could be rectified because he doesn’t understand what they are either!! Perhaps in an attempt to make me feel better he does say she speaks to most people “like that” – sad for her because she’ll end up alienating everyone in her life. Anyway, out of self preservation, I am very close to the point of saying I love you but goodbye. Any thoughts?

  83. I really needed to read this article. So many points, I’ve written down to help remind myself of. I have a few toxic family members. Mostly my middle sister, I am the youngest. She has always been jealous of me. And this causes her to say the most horrific and unkind things to me. Her game is she calls me every unkind name in the book and then runs her mouth to our mother that I was mean to her. When I was only ever protecting myself from her cruelty. She is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. My mother then attacks me in the same manner as my sister. They don’t speak, they scream and call names and accuse and cause severe distress. It is so dysfunctional. My sister has always been a bully. But, now that she is middle aged and very unhappy in her life, and I am not, she constantly puts me down and insults me to try and make me feel as low as her. She is toxic. I wish she would go away. I have tried to cut contact, but she needs a punching bag. And, I’ve allowed that to go on for long enough.

  84. To realize that my father is totally incapable of real love, empathy, remorse or understanding towards me is more than shocking – it is life changing. To know that he is capable of lashing out at me in a vicious way, with no concern at all towards my feelings, wanting to cut me to my core in an effort to feel better for a few seconds is gut wrenching. Being expected to move past the butcherings that he regularly performs without so much as an acknowledgement or an ounce of remorse is almost too much.

    My father’s game has these rules:

    1.) My grandnephew will be my favorite. He is 6’5″, gorgeous, charismatic and “I don’t know why, but somehow he ADMIRES me.” I will do everything in my power to impress him because (aside from the fact that I am sick), he is most special to me. Only he can drive my expensive car and I will tell this to him and my kids. I will treat him to all of the finer things in life that I can afford because “he is like the son that I wished I had had”.

    2.) my children are second best and a constant source of frustration to me. Why won’t they do my bidding every time that I ask? After all, I used to buy them nice things. I never seek to understand them – I don’t know how and they aren’t that interesting anyways (just annoying when they don’t behave exactly how I think they should). I should be allowed to treat my children as second best, but when my chips are down, they should be the ones expected to be the ones who are responsible for lifting me out of my self made misery.

    3.) my children must never say “no” to me. If they ever dare to speak their minds, I will see to it that “there will be repercussions”.

    4.) I am incapable of an apology. I am allowed to lash out and my children are expected to revert back to the old patterns immediately. We’ll just pretend it never happened.

    5). No hurtful or backstabbing comments to or about my children are ever inappropriate. Generally speaking, my children are too insensitive anyways and they just “shouldn’t feel that way”.

    6). It is all about me – always! My children are just inferior imitations of their mother and me anyways.

    7). Any pain that my children feel is “just a reflection on them”.

    Note: I am a happy, productive, loving mother of 3 beautiful and amazing children. I have a loving husband whom I adore and many positive and uplifting friends. These relationships take time and effort, but they are so much more than worth it. I am a very happy person and I love my life. My father does not out any real energy into his relationships with us. He likes to throw expensive gifts at us, but we all know that these come with an expensive price tag. When my father sees my positive life and relationships, he assumes that I do not deserve the, surely they must be a mistake. They remind him, subconsciously, of his own short comings. He is prone to lash out at me in order to make himself feel better. It is SO difficult to step back from all of this vitriolic behavior. I am my own person and I am responsible for my own happiness. It is difficult to distance myself from my father. I must distance myself. I deserve to be here and I deserve to be happy. It is not ok for my father to try to devour my flesh to fill his own bottomless pit of self hatred!

  85. Hey! Guys I have been going though the same thing with my anoying grndmother 4 just yrs. & yrs. I am know 18yrs. Old & so sick & tired of her drama her throwing her own problems at me I try my best 2 talk with her nicely abt it & blames me 4 her own shit in life she is going though womenpaws or senapaws. And its just quite diffacult at times is very stressful having 2 deal with people like that becuzz u are doing the best u can do but u dont know what else 2 do. Doing the best u can do is the right thing when she realy irratates me i remove myself from the room & just go in my room 2 leave her 2 give her sum space so she can cool down. I have never got apologies from her it was always backwords had 2 be the 1 always saying that I am & it makes if feel likes its your own fault but its really not.

  86. W. Maillard says:

    Me finding out that my mother had a difficult childhood and subsequently life helped me make the transition to compassion or a better understanding why she became the person she is today; why she dislikes me, I’ll never know. She did not raise me so, from the moment we met our relationship has been volatile. After years of counseling, complaining to friends, boyfriends, praying, journaling and crying “I” had to make a decision about the direction of our relationship. I took control by moving her to what I call the perimeter of my life. I check on her once a week, I visit every two weeks or so, but our conversations are limited to the news, her health and occasionally she asks “how are the kids”. Despite all that, I hear from family members that she still makes under handed comments behind my back but, it doesn’t make me angry as it used to. I no longer ask “why”, I accept that she will not change and I’m ok with that.
    I have wonderful open, caring, communicative relationships with my own kids (now adults) whom I raised and I love more than words!!!!

  87. I’m 28yrs old and since the age of 14, my parents have been treating me worse and worse with every passing year. Due to extreme sleeping disorders which ultimately were caused by my parents (late at night was the only time of peace in our house, so I stayed up to enjoy it), I haven’t been able to find a secure enough job to move away from them. Both my parents have been a part of a worldwide Christian organization called Cursillo, for the last 15yrs or so…In this group, my parents are very loved, honored and cherished people simply due to their unconditional love, support, acceptance and understanding…My mother will buy all food for them and take them out to dinner without a worry in the world, whereas my father will be a loving man, who’s compassionate and sensitive to the needs of others…At home, they are the complete opposite. My mother will shut the state down if I eat damn near anything and my father will be the opposite of understanding and sensitive…

    I’ve expressed these emotions to my parents in more ways than one. They don’t read the letters I write, rather scan through them and find parts they disagree with and capitalize on it. They cut me off when I’m speaking out loud or they’ll just sit there and look at me with condescension; as if what I’m saying is a far-fetched accusation. I’ve even tried avoiding it and walking away when things get heated, but they follow me, more angry than before, and have often pinned me up against the wall, screaming in my face, begging me to hit them…If I didn’t live under their roof, trust me, I would’ve.

    Recently, I made a post on my wall on Facebook telling vegetarians to stop guilt tripping meat eaters for liking meat. Two of my aunts are vegetarians and took the post personally, despite the opening line reading “If you wanna be a vegetarian, go for it. But don’t guilt trip omnivores for liking meat.” A post asking for respect in life choices. The response from my aunts were condescending, belittling and disrespectful, with snide comments of “I thought you were better than that” or “This is reminiscent of a Fox News article.” I assured them that the post had nothing to do with them but that their choice of words was insulting, and that I’d block them from further seeing future posts that related to the topic. Moments later, one of my aunts, posts a passive aggressive status on her wall indirectly aimed at me (I know this because of her choice of words, relating to my response to them on the original post). I told her in the comments, that I’ll just block her then, if she’s gonna be a little teenager about the situation.

    Few hours pass and my dad comes into the room while I’m watching TV, threatening me that if I don’t apologize to my aunt for my immature and “malicious” attack, that he’ll start doing daily inspections of my room, that he won’t do me any favors and that him and I need to have a “serious talk”. Every time I would open my mouth, after he made false accusations of me, he’d cut me off, continuing to yell in my face and disregard everything I had to say. Later that night, I sent him a 3 page long letter expressing my emotions of my family and how emotionally, and spiritually ill I’ve been feeling…Within 2 minutes of sending him the letter (via email), he responds with “Once again…You are WAY off base. We are going to talk whether you like or not.” – Funny thing is, if he had read the letter, within the first paragraph it reads, “If we’re gonna talk, I need to lay this out on the table first.” – He then told me that my emotions were “unfair accusations and judgments of him” – When again in reality, the letter had nothing to do with his fathering skills – It was an expression of how I feel inside…Part of those feelings were suicide (though in honesty, I have too much pride to do that but the feeling of wanting to just rid yourself of the planet is still present).

    I’m sure that I’m sometimes hard to deal with…But ya know, in the world away from my brothers (who bully me constantly and think lesser of me) and from my parents (who still punish me like I’m 10yrs old), and even my extended family (who’ve grown to be selfish and dramatic), people depend on me. My friends look up to me. I used to run programs to help victims of bullying feel loved and welcomed, I used to run programs with the intention to end racial and religious segregation…I move to inspire, empower and ignite people to be more than they are…And, no matter how hard I try to show that to my family, they still think very ill of me and push me down harder than anyone else. I don’t need my parents to look over my shoulder and give me a high five or a cookie every time I do something good…I just want them to recognize the man I’ve grown to be, accept it, help push me to my goals and dreams, and I want them to be with me the same way they are with their friends and followers in Cursillo.

    My flaws? I don’t have a job. My parents flaws? They take their problems out on their youngest son, treat their other sons like Golden Eggs and in turn, my brothers will righteously defend their mommy and daddy. They listen with the intent to be understood, rather than listen with the intent to understand. And, no matter how hard I try, they disregard any and everything I say or do…Whether it’s the music I write, the novels I write, the videos I make on youtube or the emotions I express…They dog them all. And, in turn they’ve completely killed my will to continue doing any of that as well as killing my spirit…As you said in your article, they kill your sense of self.

    On a side note, being Hawaiian, faith and family are the two most important things to me in life. And, I would take a bullet for a stranger – Can you imagine what I would do for one of my family members? I’m a very compassionate, understanding, generous, intellectual, sensitive and empathetic person…The whole world knows this…The only ones failing to see it are my family – And, no matter how, when or what I do to show them this side of me, they question, belittle, mock and disregard every and anything I have to say. I don’t know what to do anymore.

  88. In now 50 year old and I’m still crying over the hurt my parents make me feel. As a child I was sexual advised by my father, I blocked out out until I was in my 30s then started having nightmares about. My mom has yelled and called me named all my life . I have been afraid of both of my parents, afraid for my life at times. Now my mom is blind and does say much but my dad called me names and talks nab about me to everyone real bad. I never got any type of love from my patch’s and so don’t. I’m so alone it kills me inside. In love with a man that keeps cheating and leaving me. I’m in constant pain. Just wish I had a posted gt or bf that loved me truly

  89. Hi I’m a 51 year old happily married mother of two amazing adult men. My older sister and I have a great relationship although she has been estranged from our parents for 10 years my mother fallsinto the narcissist box while my father is and has always been a bully his way or the highway a very challenging childhood I have spent my whole life buffering. Forgiving. Ignoring my sister has given up trying there are too many things to even begin to give you an idea how horrible it is to be me. Last night my mother began her attack on me and my family. I hung up on her. And today I have decided with my kids and sisters support decided to let them go I guess divorce them I can’t do this anymore they have no capacity to love anyone but each other. I have grandchildren on the way and I cannot let them destroy this time for my husband and me. And my lads of course. Huge decision and feeling ill as they are getting on and totally alone feeling miserable and exhausted. My question. Is it ok to “divorce” your elderly parents??? Help

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  2. […] members, children, and work associates can treat you with disrespect. If you allow it to continue, you give away your power and dismantle your boundaries. The pain of […]

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