How To Deal With Mean and Nasty People In Your Life

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

My friend is one of the kindest, most loving, self-aware people on the planet. But the member of her family treats her atrociously.

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 six 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 mean and disrespectful.

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.

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 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 off 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.

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 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 hard to release these painful feelings in healthy ways, especially if they are received with more bad behavior or rejection.

So how can you cope with and manage with people who are mean and disruptive?

And more importantly, how can you protect yourself from being continually hurt and disrupted by their behavior?

How to deal with mean people:

Seek to understand and have compassion

As I mentioned before, most of the bad behaviors with these people stem from their own issues.

Perhaps they had tough 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 their pain and experiences ,you will often have more compassion for them. When you have compassion, their harsh 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 intelligent 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 person 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 harsh 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.

Related: How To Deal With A Controlling Person

Sometimes these hard relationships 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 mean 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 mean 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 harsh 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 rude 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 wreak havoc with your self-esteem and general contentment in life.

As tough 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.

Related: 20 Signs Of Fake Friends And How To Find Real Friends

Do you have a difficult family member in your life? How are you managing your relationship with this person?


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211 thoughts on “How To Deal With Mean and Nasty People In Your Life”

    • 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.

    • 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?

    • Sounds alot like my GF, but I don’t think the anti anxiety meds etc…. will help, sounds alot like a Narcissist, lack of empathy etc….

    • I am sorry that this difficult situation provoked such a response and can only say that when I feel pushed to my limit that I some times say and do things that I normally would not. As a father who did his best but did not always succeed it is not easy to know what to do and what not to do. Thank you for your courage in sharing your pain frustrations and embarrassments that you experienced with your father who you Love and Loves you. When a man gets older he finds that he can not do many of the thinks that he could and reacts in frustration at time he Love you to and feels safe enough to let his feelings out not always in a way that is pleasant, this does not excuse what he does but only explains it. If you can understand that it is his own fears and inadequacies not you that he is really addressing his feeling of powerlessness as I beloved that when he is by himself he regrets his tones criticisms and unloving actions deeply but feels shame and gilt and disgust with himself and that he feels that he does not deserve such an awesome daughter as you are. You are a good daughter we only hurt the ones we love is so true I hope that your father can begin to see himself as you do so that he can see the gift that he has in you and the gift that he is to you. Love is the key that we all need. Is there a way that you both can find one thing that you can enjoy together that brings you both happiness and fulfilment that enriches your time together so that you can both heel and have memories that enrich you both You are both worth it.

    • Are you kidding me. Your giving this guy an excuse? Your telling us how he feels. Natacha has probably been treated this way her whole life by him. I too am a RN and 56 yes old. I only recently have been able to see my parents for who they really are because I believed their negative messages about me. It is natural to idealize and look up to your parents and difficult to find fault in them. My eyes are wide open now and I learning soooo much about my goodness and worth. Only now learning my parents aren’t perfect. They are not willing to admit ever making mistakes or being wrong. They gossip to my siblings and me to pit us against each other. Show no remorse when told they have hurt me but instead get angry. Would it kill them to build me up instead of putting me down, have I ever done anything right and why do I always need improving, is it their job to fix me, am I that inadequate? Stop telling about my siblings accomplishments and bragging to me about them tell them your proud of them just like me they need to hear that from you. Just like they need to hear you say you were wrong, have made mistakes and have regrets. Tell us your sorry once in awhile would go a long ways in helping us feel valued. If we aren’t valued by are parents then how can we value ourselves or believe anybody else values us. Why do your children feel they need to earn your love and feel we have to perform, demonstrate or accomplish something to get attention. Are you ashamed of us, you worry more about what other people think or feel then we do, we need you to take our side, stand with us and defend us in our presents so we don’t feel alone and doubt ourselves. Self doubt is destructive to your soul it invalidates you as a person. If we receive from the people who are suppose to love us invalidation then we start believing we are wasting time on earth and taking up space. I am pretty sure parents don’t want their children to feel unworthy of their membership in the family. If someone treats us inappropriate do you really mean to blame the victim because you do that in the subtle comments and questions you ask. If I tell you my husband raped me and your response is “isn’t that a bit harsh, he is your husband?”, or “haven’t you been intimate lately, men have needs?”

    • I just have to say if this ever happens again you need to drive him home..really this is not acceptable behavior for anyone but esp. family. Have the respect for yourself to excuse yourself from his abuse…family is important however you must treat those that you love with dignity and he acted like a crazy toddler. I feel for you and hope that you get help in dealing with your father.

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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 Andrea I know a lot about how you feel if you still need someone to talk to let me know if you see this comment I’d be glad to

    • 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.

    • I come from a family of four children. My sisiters twins and a brother. My sisiters are very close they have had four career changes of which they have both done the same job at the same time. They speek to each other everyday and see each other everyday even though they are both married. There relationship never used to bother me as I had my brother. Since my brother died at age of 25, I have felt really left out. Recently my sister got married in San fran, as soon as she said that was her intentions I told her my sister and could not afford to go. She still booked it after ensuring my other sisiter, parents and work friends had the time off,then told me 3 months later! Now she has a 6 month old baby, who’s gorgeous. My other sisiter is pregnant. Since the birth of my nephew the twins are even more closer seeing each other all the time. They never visit me . Call me and when I ask to see my nephew my sister replies with cant because shes out with other sisiter. In the past I’ve arrange holidays together with husbands to which they just used me for the accomodation and cooking. When thy row with each other (rare) thy come to me, Idon’t side with either as I would get the back lash from both twin. Once they are friends once again they don’t involve me. I made my mind before my nephew was born to back off as seeing thm together just hurts me. I’ve tried talking to both of them separately on a couple of occasions and all I get is there twins what do I expect! Now my other sisiters expecting there going to be even more closer. I want to see my nephew but I am always going to be the distant friend and when my Nephew is old enough he will understand the bond they have. it hurts so much. They cant even be bothered to see me on my birthday they drop the card through the letter box every year. I always see them on there birthday. We all live in the same village within walking distance of each others houses. It’s got that bad I have made my mind up to move to Europe so I do not have to feel this bad every time I see there cars outside each others houses. My mum is aware of the situation even she says well there twins!! I need advice; do I try to get to know my nephew and my other sisiters baby? and if so how or do I?or do I keep my distance an fade of to Europe!! I don’t think the girls would notice anyway! My mum is now just as bad as she is constantly visiting the girls due to there new circumstances which is only natural. Help does anyone out have twin sisters be cause no one I speak to understands the what it is like to be in this Situation. It’s making me depressed and upset. I do not have any children. Just me and my husband. I feel so alone!!

    • I don’t have a twin but my older siblings mostly my sister have hated me all my life all BC I was born I’m the youngest and although were I. Our fifties and they have families I don’t its just gotten worst not better and she has turned other relatives against me I had a career and my life on track and kept to myself I tried everything and they just want to hate and osctrazie me from all family events I have no one I got sick when my career was really taking off and haven’t been able to work for awhile I take care of my mom and they hate me for that my mom and I used to be very close but she has done some horrible things behind my back for my sister and brother but lies always come out she doesn’t like what they do but just goes along with them and puts her head in the sand I have only a couple of friends and even hate to go anywhere anymore I’m so broke I’ve been questioning why I’ve talked to several doctors but just can’t seem to get over the pain and it goes on and on it has affected my whole life not only have I’ve been left out of family but the world at large the only thing that keeps me going is my pups I’ve had to many things gone wrong in life and never felt fully accepted and when I thought people accepted me they really werent and it just hurts too much now a days my days are spent watching TV late into the note and sleeping in until 2 or 3 I just have enough left to take care of my pups I try to exercise but I have very little interest in anything and a lot of health illnesses its all to much anymore I just don’t understand why no one wants to come together and work things out why do they just want to hate they hate me BC I live a different life then they want me to and don’t believe me that I’m contending w several illnesses probably caused by being abused and left out my whole life I’m so tired of feeling so alone I’ve tried several outlets and ways to make and keep friends but only a few have lasted it must be that I’m broken

    • Jt your story sounds crazy similar to mine from the family to the health , ppl who I think like me and really don’t,friends and how you are feeling. It felt like I was readin about myself and honestly I’m glad to know that I’m not alone.

    • i am so sry jt my heart goes out to you sweetie ..i have a daughter that is the same way i havent talked to her in 3 yrs now ..i dont need toxic idiots in my life had enough of it ..tell your family members thats treatig you bad like that to go to h..ll nobody needs that crap is hard enough as it is sometimes ..hugs hun <3 hope things turn around for you and get better <3

    • hi my story isn’t pretty having a father whose anger and jealousy made the 1st 16 years of my life a nightmare ,how sad is it to say the happiest day of my life was when my mother finally left .I was nearly 20 ( we stayed together for the kids I heard from uncles and aunts,plz if anyone reads this and is thinking along those lines Don’t,the longer you stay together the anger,resentment and in my case inc jealousy will damage your children the longer you stay together the more damage ,simple ) ,I’m going to be honest I,m a man of 50 between being bullied all through school and mentally abused at home when I left school got a job and with that freedom,meeting the right person and becoming best friends for life (and still are ) was my saving grace ,I learned to enjoy life my confidence grew ,I was happy.New friendships (never had any before ) became a regular occurrence but I had demons which are still with me to this day I Hate Bullies . I didnt think back then at 16 i would spend my life looking for and wanting to hurt any bully I came across what ever there size or age ,if I saw or just heard mental or physical abuse being thrown at anyone I hurt them but the sad part is I enjoyed it ,by 19 I was boxing/training 6nights a week I had to be fit and strong because i moved from teens to men in there 20s + meant bigger and sometimes harder ones to sort out and sad as it is I gained a reputation which continued to grow and grow,I was always at my happiest bullying bullies I even waited 17 yrs to deal with my last school bully and still to this day would never swerve or dodge one ,how sad is all the above ,my whole life has revolved around years of abuse to years of looking forward to my next bullies punishment. Please if you are a parent or parents in an abusive relationship with a child/children don’t stay together ‘for the kids sake’ it will damage them in some way and could even be copied to their own relationships later on (none of mine did I,m pleased to say) in life and also beware that frightened little boy you have he could end up twisted by it and possibly one day be me ,I,m not going to say how I dealt with my father but it wasn’t nice .kev

    • I guess I stayed to long in this family pls read my reply under it I was also bullied terribly by other all through school and after as well not a lot has gone right in my life I’ve can relate and just about ready to stop trying now in my fifties I’ve given up on ever meeting the right man and getting married u were lucky to meet ur best friend my faith has been really tested my whole life I’m not perfect far from it but why do I always take 1step forward and 2 steps back

    • So did I – thanks. It helped to hear or read that’s it ok to pull away. My sister is manipulative, angry, controlling-she quit a very good job and blamed it on everything but the truth which is she’s an alcoholic too. She’s now temp living with my parents who are old, she’s 55 and she acts like a child when she does not get her way. I firmly believe she is a sociopath. She got evicted for spending her disability check (her disability is anxiety and stress, the dr who signs her paperwork to receive state disability has no idea she’s an alcohol ; she conned him) on booze instead of her rent, and when I refused to pay her rent for 2 months she actually blamed me that she got evicted. Well she finally got the money from my parents and her landlady still wanted her out; she’s too much trouble. Cops were constantly called due to her fighting with ex, and her children. She faked suicide many times that her kids now say she does it just to get their attention and control them. Then she’s perfectly ok the next day. She hates me because I won’t give her any more money; I only bring home eneough to pay my house payment and support myself. I gross 53k a year. I can’t afford to supplement her disability check. She’s perfectly physically healthy, and is capable of working if she quit drinking. But she refuses to admit she drinks much. My mom called me to tell me she finds about 2 bottlesHi Louie, I hear you found a job working for the Gallo’s. Who would have thought Modesto would have a better opportunity for you than Sac. I’m happy things are turning around better for you, and you found a job more suited for your skills and your goals than what you were finding in Sac. I’m sorry things got so heated awhile back, I got scared re where you and your mom were headed and sometimes fear comes out as anger. You are in control of your own destiny, no one else’s – and your mom is in good hands for now with mom and dad -whether she wants to admit it or not. Nina. of empty wine bottles in the garbage about every 2 days. I work hard and long hours. I refuse to support her when she won’t try to get help for the drinking. She drinks a bottle of wine by herself almost every night. So she’s unemployable now. I’ve helped her financially so many times, helped her pack up her entire home to move her when she lost her home and she has never once helped me in my life- she always had an excuse. I have had to rely on myself, or just hire someone to help me, or ask friends, but when I needed help she always a reason why she couldn’t help. I finally came to accept that I can’t have much contact with her, and because of that I also can’t be too close to my nephew and niece because she gets jealous. She controls the situation. If I don’t give in to her, we don’t get along – it’s as simple as that. And I refuse to be manipulated anymore.

    • My parents and youngest sister decided to celebrate my mother’s birthday early without inviting me or my family. My youngest sister even posted it on Facebook. I called to tell my mom happy birthday today and the discuss ion ended with her not understanding my hurt and she made excuses. I didn’t expect her to under stand and regret even trying to talk about it. No sympathy was given. I have no parents.

    • JMC, I just posted below you, I am Gina, I feel like you do, read mine, I have no mom anymore. For whatever reason the youngest seems to be the Matriarch of our families.


    • Thank you I really needed to hear this. I am 55 and I really hate my mother. She remarried 6 mos after my wonderful father passed away as a kid I was overwhelmed with a step father and 4 step siblings, then they had one together.
      I am the only child left from her ” love of her life” who was my father, but if he was how could she marry so quickly? I hate her so much and all her attention goes to ‘their child’ and yet she says outloud she does not love her husband nor loves his kids…she constantly makes desions that include them not me.
      How do you deal with this, they are 88 and 91 his kids did squat for years until they got sicker and for the last 15 yrs its been me who has been there for both of them whether I like him or not. I do it for my mom.
      Is it wrong for me to not want to see nor talk to her anymore? She is totally abusive verbally and never wants to talk about anything she just hangs up so talking is not the answer….he hates me, she hates his kids who have no idea as they all live out of the area.

      I want my own life, and to meet and marry my Special man. I am sick of this facade pretending this is a family , no more lies for me. I just tell it like I see it….the rest of them drink so they are all in denial, same as my mom and her husband…I remember him asking her why she never says she loves him…I asked her , said it was none of my business, then told me she never loved him and never will. She only stayed for the child they had together, and now grandkids…she is very emotionally abusive to him, he to her, and very dependent, now she acts like it is her job to take care of him but says nothing to stop. HELP

    • I have recently found my father and biological sister after 37 years. I was so excited to find them. My sister which is 5 years younger than myself is 50 years old now, with 3 girls and a not so good marriage. She suffered many years in and out of foster homes and sexually abused as a child from one of the foster parents. She has had a very difficult and sad life.
      Our father was a truck driver so he was always out, that’s why the foster care.
      The last time I saw them when I was 18 years old.
      I also have had a very bad life with my mother married and divorced 8 times!
      I was also sexually abused by my step father.
      But, since trying to talk to my sister she is so full of hurt, anger, resentment, hate, you name it. I try talking to her to get to know her and she just rants on about how I can even think of being nice to our father. I explained that I have grown and forgiven him and want to know and love him for whats left of his life as he is now 81 years old.
      When I asked why she was so negative..Oh my God! She flew off the handle! she drinks and gets so mean I really can’t stand it! I just don’t know how to react! I have told her that I love her and want to know her and all she talks about is her shitty life and our horrible father! She is vindictive to a point I have not answered her calls. I did answer one time and we talked overseas as I am not in the USA for 6 hours straight! Her speech was so slurred I could barely understand what she was saying half the time. I just don’t know anymore what to say or do. I have tried everything! Help!

    • My parents are so negative. It seems since they are so involved in my life, I can’t avoid them. One example is my dad calls me things like an ass, nasty prick, and the list goes on(keep in mind that I’m on the honor roll, I’m 14, I have decent friends, I am kind, I keep my room clean, I play field hockey and am on the track team, and I have an unconditional love for art and photography). We live in a house so small that I can stand in a corner and look around me, and that’s it. One floor. Everything can be seen- the closet, 2bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and then one big messy dining room/kitchen/living room with no separating walls in between. They don’t want to move, and blame the fact that we didn’t move on me, even though moving is a family decision. My mom is negative and sasses me and gives me guilt by saying: Did you do this yet? Why didn’t you send it yet? You are going to be late if you keep this up. She makes me feel like crap whenever we are done talking and I always leave with my head down in despair. I think I’m depressed. Actually, I’ve always been depressed since I was 8 but it’s just getting worse. One example is she didn’t let me go to the mall to get a dress for the last eigth grade dance(semi) because I didn’t close her door an extra inch. I don’t feel like writing out other examples, but some are far worse (physical) or even just her picking on me and lowering my self esteem. She tells me I have an attitude, that I’m being rude, and that I’m being disrespectful repetitively but yet when I politely ask her what I said that was so bad she never has an example because I was never any of those things in the first place. She just picks on me like that and it sucks. She is a completely different person compared to her loving self 5 years ago. Now I don’t know who she is,her voice changed, her … She is just different now for the worst reasons. Sometimes I get the feeling she’s a little looney and on drugs because of the way she treats me. I’m also convinced (so is my mom) that my dad is bipolar, which makes things hard. I’ve gotten pushed and pulled, hit and yanked, and he yells so loudly and is very impulsive. I want to have love, but their negativity keeps me low and influences my school days. I’m so bored and dull because my happiness was sucked out of me. I try to ignore them, but then they hurt me.

  1. 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.

    • 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.

    • Hi Barrie,

      I so agree with you. Sometimes it can be so overbearing I want to scream. God is my protector, guide and saviour.

  2. 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.

    • 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.

    • Ditto. Took me awhile to accept this fact though. I only have 1 sister so I think that’s why I tolerated her abuse all these years. She’s older than me, but I’m the responsible one. I work, I own my own home, etc. She’s dysfunctional in every aspect of life. She’s an Unemployed alcoholic who blames everyone for her problems.

    • Well done, Mary and CC! After so much effort and energy, it is honest to admit that we have done all that we can do to have a relationship with very difficult people. Their psychological problems are theirs- we can’t continue to waste our lives trying to have peace, when they are constantly trying to raise hell! It’s all about drawing healthy boundaries around the good things God has given to us. Boundaries are loving, not cruel. Furthermore, I felt it was piercingly true, what Julia said above: “There may be creative endeavors that would be snuffed out by a life of constant upheaval attempting to have a “relationship”. End the madness.” It is tragic to allow ill people to suck the life out of us, and we end up with only a tiny fraction of the joy and life we could have enjoyed! It is not the plan of God for any of us to do that. He tells us to follow after and to seek after peace- because He knows that is the best way for us to live!

  3. 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.

    • 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.

    • My mother is always sick, complains about everything, talks terrible about everyone, says things that are not true. For example, she tells everyone that she is friends with famous people. She makes up illnesses and to gain sympothy. Never satisfied. Makes up stories about terrible things that happen to her that are not true. Never happy for anyone. She controls my father so bad that is has taken a toll on his health. If I say anything, she will get mad and take it out on my dad. I don’t know what to do, Any suggestions?

    • I fully understand, my mother is 92 and I won’t see her because every time I do, even though she is sick now, she still has venom in her. And I also feel much better. It is always a need in us children who have been mistreated verbally and physically, to want our mother’s to accept us, but now that I am 61 years old, I know that will never happen, so I don’t long for it anymore, even though in the back of my mind it would be nice to be recognized. All I can say here is, your mother must have a psychological illness. I definitely think my mother is or either bipolar or incapable of feeling any remorse, she always thinks she is right and always manages to come out ontop in her own brain, that is pathological. That is an illness! Someone who is unable to feel remorse, or say she is sorry for the things she has done to you, believe me, is mentally ill. To make things worse, she is 92 years old, so believe me when I say she will never change and she will die without ever saying she is sorry for the horrible things she has done to you. Not expecting this apology is part of the cure and just accepting things and moving on is the best, no matter how much people will tell you, that she is your mother and you owe her your life, this is crap because after all, why did she give birth to you if she was going to treat you badly, if she was going to criticize and belittle you to the point of making you insecure. That is not what I call a mother, no matter how long she had you in her womb.

  4. 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.

    • 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.

    • I know that feeling. The problems I’ve had with a sociopathic sister finally made me let go, but it is of easy. I took kept hoping shed change and become stable, but she always reverted back to the toxic and irrational behavior.

  5. 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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

    • 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.

    • 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.

  7. 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.

    • 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,.

  8. 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.

    • 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! 🙂

  9. 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.

    • 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. 🙂

  10. 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.

    • 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.

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

  12. 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.

    • 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.

  13. 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!

    • 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!!

  18. 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

  19. 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

    • 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!!

  20. 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.

  21. 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
    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……

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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,


    • Hi maggie, sounds like your dad has the” traditional” thinking of favoring the son because of carrying his last name. Daughters are worthless…Unfortunately, your brother knows too well. You are right about not going to have dinner with them will cause many problems for you. I would just go and pretend they are your demanding clients and smile. Since they can act toward you, you should do the same. Do not let them know you are hurt by them. Try to be their friend because you have to deal with your brother later. Find good friends who is there for you. I know blood is thicker than water, but it really depends on what kind of blood…good luck!

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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

    • I also have a very aggressive brother. Most of the time he expresses hi hostility towards me when no else is there to witness it. Then when other family members hear of it they say “it is between you and him”. I am 57 and he is 58. I have been verbally abused and threatened by him so frequently. I am single, no kids, had health problems and bounced back without a shred of support from him. Why he takes such liberties with me I have no idea. It’s gotten to where I decline family invitations because he is such a mean bully.
      An old friend of mine told me to not let people treat me in a disrespectful manner. The last time I spoke with him on the phone he was so nasty to me and then he hung up. I believe he expected me to apologize and call him back. (I did nothing wrong.)
      I sent him a text stating that if he could not speak to me in a respectful manner, I would not speak with him at all. He never called back. This is not an isolated incident.
      I realize it is his problem but I still think he is a mean bully. So I skip the family gatherings because I will not let myself be the target of his rage. I do not know why I am treated so poorly as I have done a lot to help my family over the years.
      It is sad, but I will not be treated like a doormat. It is too bad that everyone but me can have fun at these events. When I had a boyfriend I was always treated better because they were to ashamed to treat me badly in front of others. That is why I know they know what they are doing. They just do not care about my feelings. Shame on them.
      I do not attend many family functions.

    • Hi Bradley Dickerson
      I’m a grandma and mom of two. I feel really bad about your situation but if you can get a video of your sister being nasty to you , you can show them evidence . Also speak to a Counsellors about your step dad if he is being abusive . I think he is trying to provoke you to doing something so he can report you to authorities . Please be careful. Focus on your studies , homework , sports etc. and don’t interact with your sister as much as you can. Grow into a strong , self made person so you can be an e ample to others. Take care. God bless you. . Please say prayers regularly in your mind. God bless you

  31. 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.

    • I understand your pain. I also feel trapped even i dont live with my mother. She has some mental issues too. I find yoga or prayer helps. Running does the trick also especially if you put your favorite music on. You can run for miles and lose weight at the same time. It is funny, my mom discourage and make fun of me about running – she feels it is bad for my knees. It might be true, but i do it so i can get ride of all the bad energy. Hope it helps.

  32. 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 ….

  33. 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.

  34. 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. 🙂

  35. 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 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 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.. 🙂

  36. 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.

  37. 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… 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.

    • 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.

    • I am one of 6 children. My parents are divorced for many years. The whole family is spread out all over the country and is barely connected. She we do get together there is often a lot of hostility. I have excused myself from going to these events where the people cannot act in a civilized manner. It is so sad as I have nieces and nephews that I love who are very sweet. Why most of my family hates me so I have no idea. I just know that it is wrong and makes me feel horrible when I am around them. So I keep my distance to keep my peace of mind. We used to have so much fun when we were kids. It is very sad how things have unravelled.

  38. 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?

  39. 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

  40. 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!

  41. 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

  42. 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…………………………………………

  43. 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

  44. 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!!!

    • 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.

    • Dear sue
      I have two grandsons nowby god’s grace. They’re babies still. I have two sons and these are my older sons kids. The reason I am replying to you is to say that I can fully understand your envy. I too still feel envious of people who have more than two kids air grand kids. I envy those whose entire family lives in the same city because my older son and his family live in a different state from us. I have my younger son with me who is single yet, and very kind to me. My older son is very rude to me and his wife is also extremely rude, selfish and thinks of her mother and her side of family. I want to live and be close but in my life , my mother in law and sisters in law all kept me and my children out of becoming close to anyone in the family. My mother in law is narcissistic and selfish and self absorbed and wants too much attention. All her children spoiled her rotten and also her husband gave in to her every wish. So she wants everyone to only go through her to be close to others in the family. But others could also be close to us without her permission , but they play her game and respect her. However my late husband I a lot for his family and spoiled them with money and cars and things . Now , I feel quite lonely because I have no parents and only one brother who keeps to himself !
      I have few friends who have large immediate families and grandkids and husbands and whenever they mention their grandkids and babysitting and visiting etc. I feel envious . I don’t like to feel like that . Even if I see a. Tv show or movie with loving families I feel envious even though I know that it’s a movie .
      I don’t like to be envious and I’m a very affectionate giving person .people who know me say that about me too. But life is not fair always. When I read about the stories here my heart breaks and I wish we were all living close by so WE could all become family and support each other. Love you all and may god bless you. MYSTIQUE

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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

  50. 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

    • Beautiful words Dana, you have given me positivity today. God bless you and all the very best to you and your lovely family xx

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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!

  62. 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.

  63. 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)

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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?

  67. 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.

  68. 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? 😛

  69. 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.

  70. 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…

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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

  74. 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

  75. 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) 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 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..

  76. 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!

  77. 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?

  78. 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.

  79. 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!

  80. 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!!!!

  81. 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.

  82. 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

  83. 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

  84. A family member has a crack cocaine addiction and when I found out she was living in a tool shed with her 7 year old daughter, I decided ti was time to intervene. I told other family members that if they didn’t do something right away I would call child protective services. They sprung into action and picked up the child. A few weeks later her mom said she was sober so they gave her back. I was living out of the state at the time so there was not much I could do. I did call CPS and have them monitor her and the child. A year later I moved back into the state. The crack addicted mom was up to her old tricks again and got arrested. The child was then living with her grandmother (who was very poor) and her 17 year old uncle. I told them I was available to take the child if needed. We were better off financially and would be able to take better care of her physically and emotionally. A few weeks past and the grandmother called to ask if I still wanted her. Of course I did. My husband and I picker her up a few days before her 9th birthday. This beautiful little girl was so filthy I had to use alcohol to remove the dirt from behind her ears. Understanding that this sweet angel had been living almost her entire life with a crack addict, I decided it was best to put her in counselling ASP. Shortly after beginning counselling she told the counsellor that she had been sexually assaulted by her 17 year old uncle. She later told me the entire story as well. I was appalled that her grandmother knew it happened but chose to turn a blind eye. The counsellor was obligated to call the police. The police called e and needed me to ring the child in for a statement. Shortly after the statement was maid the officer called me and asked if I knew where the uncle was. At that time I didn’t have a clue. I told them to call his mother. She lied and said she didn’t know where he was. His mother then called me and accused e of trying to get her son arrested. She said she told him to hide out so he didn’t have to answer questions by the police. She also told me that if he got arrested she would blame my son or husband. I wasn’t afraid of her threat because we all knew the truth. The grandmother is my oldest sister. She called my parents and tried to convince them that he didn’t do anything and that I made everything up and tried to get him in trouble. My parents were neutral for a coupe of years but now my sister is their primary caregiver and they have decided to support her. They have even tried to accuse my son and husband of being the abuser. My other sister even told me that family secrets should just be buried. They have effectively made that little girl a victim again. They have made me a villain because I chose to support the child and get her the help she needed. This has been the dynamic of my family for my entire life. I have always been made the scapegoat. The childs mother went through rehab and was sober for two years before I agreed to let the child go home. I was supposedly the evil one for making her wait so long to get her child back. I was only doing what they asked me to do. I took good care of that little girl. She may not have as good a life with her mom that she had with me but at least now she knows it wasn’t her fault and that she can stand up for herself…at least against everyone but our family. She has been with her family for over a year now and I am still the bad guy…I have decided it’s time to cut the ties. My husband, son and his family are all I need.

  85. This note is for Andrea. Honey, I’m so sorry that your mother doesn’t have the emotional maturity to show you the love you deserve. Her shortcomings don’t detract in any way from your right and needs, though. You need to get those needs fulfilled in other ways, unfortunately, because as hard as you try, you probably will not ever be able to win your mother’s love. That’s because she doesn’t have it to give. Forgive her — more for yourself than for her (because she probably doesn’t even realize she needs to be forgiven) and then view her with kindness and compassion. She’s not a well person. But that doesn’t make her happiness your responsibility. All of us, including yourself, are responsible for our own happiness. Are there things that bring you joy and peace? For me, when I was growing up in a toxic household like yours, I found great joy in walking with my dog or riding my horse in the wilderness. Sitting alone with my dog, watching the sun go down, made me feel connected to the universe and all around me — and I came to see how good it all was. Keep a diary and write down your thoughts. You have important things to share with the world and those notes will help you get closer in touch with the things you’re learning on this journey. Be sure to find a safe place to keep your diary, though. Your private thoughts are your pearls and in the wrong hands, could be used to harm you, so guard them carefully. Be sure to reach out for new opportunities. One of the things that got me through a rough childhood was a wonderful teacher who hired me to babysit for her and also to help her grade papers. How I cherished those “sane” times in her warm, cozy home, learning to drink tea and seeing how loving parents treat each other and their children.

    At some point in your life, you may discover, as I did, that many things you thought were truths were lies. The people in your family that you thought were good weren’t good at all. The things you thought made your family special weren’t even remotely true. This was one of the hardest things that ever happened to me. I grieved greatly for the family I thought I had, and even allowed them to “suck” me back into their toxic dump a second time. We so want to love our families. Our identity is so rooted in feeling that we belong to a good group of people. I hope you have some family members who will be true to you, but if you find that they betray you and don’t even have hearts, take a bit of time to grieve for them, learn to forgive them, but never forget how they have hurt you. Keep your vision clear and don’t let them trick you with their lies as they trick themselves. Move on and build a family of people who care for you and whom you can care for. You will probably make some mistakes, but don’t stop trying. Remember, you’re a brave explorer who loves herself enough to go into a land that is uncharted for you — a land where people are as civilized and kind as you deserve. May you find many blessings.

  86. My gran has been mean to my mother ever since my grandad died 25 years ago. My gran lives with us but she truly a bitter and manipulative person. My mother’s had a panic attack and my father has high blood pressure. She’s lived with us for seven years but every year gets worse. We’ve finally asked her to leave but now she puts on the waterworks and my mum feels guilty. I just want her out of our lives 🙁

  87. Hi,

    I am 60 years old and still grieving for the loss of contact from my siblings and parents, they disowned me many years ago and my parents died without making up with me.

    I have tried and tried to speak to them but they refuse, calling me a fantasist, Liar. telling me I am fat etc.

    I just need to understand why they are like it to me.
    Tell me what I have done wrong. My mother and 2 sisters beat me up when I was 19 because i stayed out at a party with my boyfriend.
    I was kicked out the next day unless I stopped seeing my boyfriend.

    They have given me grief all my life, they will never ever talk to me again.
    My sisters and brother refuse to have anything to do with me and my children.

  88. Dear Cathy and all
    Who is having similar issues related to handling Toxic family.
    “You just be yourself” and try to kep yourself away by mind and make up your mind that nothing matters as many things/incidents are said already and self explanatory which is really painful. Just do good as you like to do your next generation. Those who induldge with bad nasty and busy creating mess and disharmonising the situation will be surely not in peace as you are.
    Your peace is the real reason for poking them to disturb you and they all are failure and you are only winner. So, Nobody can disturb you except yourself and not allow any other to disturb your peace.
    God Bless all who wants to be the path of peace, happiness and global thinking of harmony.

    I visited not incidently this site but I am also looking for more concrete answer to handle tough situation but you people’s situation is even worse than me. My pain is still looking for ground to explain. May be I can handle or no? I donot know as I handled my situation with anger, which can be handled without showing anger. I am learning to control anger but I like to say truth which may be very hurting for others. there are many subtle issues to be explain and analyze as people you think is closer to you but they are not as by their nature.

    Best Regards

  89. Best happy moment in my life, My experience to the world on how i got my love back and saved my marriage. I really love Louis so much that i can not even do without. I was married for 7years with 2kids and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time… it got worse at a point that he filed for divorce… I tried my best to make him change his mind & stay with me because i loved him with all my heart and didn’t want to lose him but everything just didn’t work out… He moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce… I pleaded, cried and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful man who eventually helped me out with spell… I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly because I was desperate and left with no choice… He did special prayers and used herbs… Within two days he called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma he had cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily, the kids are happy too and we are expecting our third child. I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news… Just thought I should spread my experience cause I strongly believe someone out there need’s it… NOTE THAT he will ask you to pay a small token amount of money to get the materials to work for you. You can email DR SANJAY via (sanjaylandofsolution606@gmail . com) Don’t give up just yet, the different between “Ordinary” & “Extra-Ordinary” is the “Extra” so make extra effort to save your marriage/relationship if it’s truly worth it.

  90. Hi, i am very sad…i love my mother and my sisters, but there is so much i can bare. I know my mother loves me. However, she likes to complain about my husband to both my sisters all the time. I tried to make my mother happy. No matter what i do, she still feels disappointed. Therefore, both my younger sisters give me very little respect. They both told me not visit my mother since i make her sad all the time. I feel like it is not their place to tell me this. I helped my mother when my dad passed away. They both have family and job obligations. I was more than willing to help. I left my child to my husband for months to get her seattled. Both my sisters feel like i am not worthy and tries to be little me often especially the youngest. She is a doctor and she claims that she is my mother’s favorite. She often likes to compete with me even i have no interest i. It. This year i bought my mother a present that i know it will help her. She told me that i was showing off to my family. She said everyone said so… I didnt know that gift can create such a problem. There are so many petty issues like this. My self esteem is so low. I find my self crying all the time. My husband and i will never be good enough. Help!

  91. This helps so much…I have an older sister who can be loving and fun and caring when everything goes her way…when it doesnt she is a different person-mean-manipulating-lying-and envious. She has lost many friend and family relationships because of the way she behaves..if anything good happens to certain friends or myself (new house -new job-even weight loss) she will pick a fight or try very hard toke you feel bad about yourself. Every holiday season for the past 20 years she has caused major fights in the family always having my mother back her up and is on her side if there is any. I try hard to be above it and not return ugly messages that I recieve …once again this year when we make plans to do something and I think we have finally turned the page …it happens again …she will celebrate with just our parents and leave myself and my family and my little sister and her family out-sometimes including her but not me. I have never treated my mother or my older sister the way they treat me…they are both very overweight and not in good health …I try to tell myself it is their issue not mine they just have low self esteem and want to bring others down to their level so they can cope

  92. I had always been told that I was “the problem” and I believed it until my daughter was born and I the hate and contempt my family had for me increased and I thought how can someone be so hateful towards a newborn baby, their own granddaughter? She was only a few months old when they screamed in her face to Give Me Hell because they were upset about their own failures. Her grandpa waved his hands over her like he was putting a spell on her, spitting and screaming at a baby like a damn fool. They wanted me to change her name (no) and move (they don’t like my house) and threw a fit and told me it was my job to please them and I havent yet learned my lesson. When I didn’t beg for mercy and forgiveness for not pleasing them, dad screamed that I was “disowned”. Then they went out onto my front lawn and screamed back at me something I supposedly did as a teenager, which never happened, then left. I tried to forgive them but I also let them know that what happened was not acceptable and that my daughter deserved better than to have emotionally abusive grandparents. They denied everything that happened, told me I was making it all up and that they are wonderful people and I am a liar. I have severe depression and anxiety and get panic attacks and the conditions are unbearable at times. I have night panic attacks, waking from sound sleep to a panic. I have flashbacks often, flashing back to times when my parents sacrificed my well being for their egos. I told my mother my ballet teacher had sexually abused the girls in our class and she responded with “He was a good friend of mine! That didn’t happen!” It most certainly did. My mother used to tell me that no one liked her because I told everyone lies about her. The truth was that all of my friends were scared to death of her. I thought my mother was Cruella D’Ville when I wasn’t old enough to know better so I can only imagine what I told other people because I didn’t know any better, but I wasn’t making stuff up, just going with what I saw and understood. My mother told me she didn’t believe in love, she said she didn’t get it. She said she doesn’t believe in unconditional love when my daughter was norn. She wanted me to start spanking her right away and we fought about that too. She told me on my wedding day, out of the blue, right before the ceremony that she didn’t believe in love. She told me she didn’t “get” that Bible verse that starts “Love is kind…” Of all the Bible verses to challenge, my mother picks that one! My parents never could stand each other, never could respect each other. Their marriage was a business relationship, not love. Something I felt as a child but only now am beginning to understand. They can’t have civil conversations with each other and are always putting each other down behind each other’s backs. If we are all three in a room and one of them steps out, the other will make a face and wince and grumble “your mother” or “your father”. Nobody knows our terrible secret, they play like they are wonderful people. My parents were both teachers (shudder) and my brother is a doctor and me an architect and entrepreneur but we are the most miserable family ever. My mother told me she doesn’t believe in building self esteem in kids. Could that be related to my self esteem issues? Oh no, she says I’m a spoiled brat and need to learn respect. To my friends, I am known as the fun caring and unselfish one. I am kind, smart, creative, and generous but my family refuses to see that. My daughter is amazing, I get so many compliments on how good she is, but my parents want me to spank and punish her so she doesn’t get out of line and that they hoped not spanking and punishing her would backfire on me. I told them about Love and Logic and of course they hate the whole idea of raising kids with love and logic! I have refused to speak with them for a year and a half so now they try to get through to my husband, all the while telling him how worried they are about me and that we are hurting our daughter by disallowing them access to her. He is fed up and now he is getting stress related health problems too. We have a great life and a great marriage, the envy of all except the big thorns in our sides. What is a young family to do with such controlling hateful grandparents? I am a grown woman who contemplates running away from “home” almost everyday because I can’t escape these terrible memories and feelings.

  93. Thank you for this excellent article. I have come a long way but have to deal with a negative, toxic, mother with a possible psychologial problem every day of my life. I never know which mom I’m going to get – the mom who is actually for brief glimpses is nice, the mom who is pretending to be nice but remembering everything I say to use it against me at some point, or the plain mean mom who spends morning to night throwing daggers at my direction, calling me mean names, comparing me to everyone else, etc.

    It took a long time for me to get to the place where I have compassion on her, but it was true blessing when I did see that she really does have a true problem and none of her words have any truth about who I really am.

    It doesn’t help that at 36 and as a single mom I live with her and occasionally I have blowups where I just explode out of frustration. Of course she absolutely lives for these moments – they bring her tremendous pleasure, which is so wrong.

    Walking away, I’ve found, is always the best answer.

  94. My 34 year old daughter is successful and she deserves the credit. The old saying that you can lead a horse to water but cannot make them drink applies–I sought out and created every opportunity for her within my reach — what a Mom does–she applied herself and did well. One respected school administrator back when told me that I do too much for her.

    All through her childhood, I wanted out of the abusive marriage buy couldn’t decide which to do–have an only child come from a divorced household and be shifted back-and-forth between two household (and I knew my ex- would be mean about it) or to try my best to make it the best until she was of college age. He was uninvolved–unless I could make him take her to a lesson or drive her to school (he went by it on his way to work). I was eventually told that he’d drop her off at the lesson and leave (or go to the car and sleep)–something, in this case, that parents never did due to the type of activity involved. At my work, I realized one day that co-workers thought I was an only parent. Outsiders became aware of the abuse against me–to my surprise as I thought I was handling it, calling him on it, etc. Truly, I was in denial. It was constant degradation, ostracism, name calling (in front of daughter), nightly threats at physical violence.

    When daughter went to college, divorce was a certainty. We lived in different residences and agreed that I would file after a big occasion in our daughter’s life. Shortly before that occasion, he called (unusually friendly) making mostly small talk and, at the end of the call, asked if I had filed the divorce papers yet. No, I’m waiting until after her big event. He didn’t care about her or her big event–he apparently didn’t want to be on the one who had divorce papers filed against him and ran out to do it the next day AND, though I often worked from home and rarely on-site, he had the process server drives a significant distance to serve me in front of about 30 people to whom I was giving a presentation. A divorce attorney said he has seen nasty things but maybe never that bad. Naturally, the daughter’s big event was different-no Mom and Dad with smiles plastered for the sake of her. And I truly think that if I hadn’t started the divorce (which he knew about for years that it would happen at a certain time), I think he’d still be sitting on the coach or coming home from work and going straight to bed—no interaction, unless it was mean.

    This daughter has turned on me–and is enveloping him. While I would do nothing to prevent or interfere with her having a relationship with him (and he seems now–from her stories–to be my handy, willing to help out, etc). And, at times I’m told he says bad things about me then later my daughter will deny it and says he never talks about me. We do know that he went to her then new inlaws apparently telling them that I was a bad mother. (No one seems to think that I was a bad mother–including my daughter–but this hasn’t stopped her from (what I only this week or so realized!) treating me the way I was treated in the marriage. This aw shucks, boy next door, almost hapless guy (now age 60) seems so incapable of the tactics he does largely under the radar (but, to my surprise, as mentioned above, a few outsiders did bring it to my attention–an outsiders were rarely around as I was so embarrassed by him I minimized who got to be around him).

    The many things my daughter has one over the post-college years (now intensifying) were left unaddressed. I made excuses–she’s under stress, or she’s pregnant, or she grew up in an abusive setting. But recently, my health is threatened and I actually thought she would be empathetic, be there for me-but not only did it start out that she was cold (e.g. would listen without comment) but she has increased her passive-aggressive (?) actions, even putting my safety at risk making me leave her home to drive when I likely should not have done so. That, if you can believe it, was my wake-up call after all these years–throwing my physical safety to the wind.

    She denies everything–always–but now has started calling me names, saying I have real problems, and has taken(for the first time) to writing extensive emails ‘documenting’ things that have little if any truth to them–and, of course, making me look like terrible–even unstable. She’s reportedly been told things about her childhood — all my fault–and I ask if that’s how she remembers it? She actually said she was young and doesn’t remember certain things but if that what (he) told her, that must be how it was. (I’m tempted to look up adults who were in her life at that time to give her potentially unbiased information.)

    And tied to this–thus ensuring I can never get him out of my life even though the divorce is a dozen years old–is her dad—she’s going to visit him and his now wife for the holidays, and she’ll (and family) will take me out to dinner. To snub me, to prevent the joy of the grandchildren here (they have fun and tell me they love me and love my house) and to announce that for days the holidays will take place with her family and only her dad and step-mother and I get seen for ‘a dinner’–or more, she said. We live about only 5 miles apart.

    It seemed to me that she knew that would be hurtful arrangements and assumed that I would participate in the very hurtful arrangements. I said I love her and respect her right to make her own decisions, but that I wasn’t consulted about the plans she announced, and that she should respect my right to not participate in plans that she knows would be painful for me. That was it—a big email from her saying how I was refusing to see her and that her dad is understanding and wouldn’t do that. (Yet she once told me that he’d tell her to come in(from four hours away) and not see me-that she could do it the next time she came in. And that she should see only one parent each time she visits — which, by the way, may be a total of twice a year. And that if she insisted on trying to see both parents when she was in town, he wanted it 50-50.) Ex is now also apparently driving to see her once a month-to help her around the house. Big change from his own house–there are stories.

    Women, and men, don’t devote your lives to your children to the exclusion of your own good. I think it doesn’t set a good example?

    I feel I made no demands on her — even now when she is an adult I bite my tongue. (She pretty much agrees with all that–in fact, I can’t determine the source of this awful treatment–and now we may be broken for ever. What she doesn’t agree to (‘my imagination’; ‘something is wrong with me’) is about how she treats me. I respect her wishes (no to certain toys for the children and when I can be around, etc.)–according to her, her dad doesn’t. Instead of saying something to him, she says, for example, that she’ll donate the toys just to have them out of the house (never opened).

    I was the ‘there’ parent–and now I’m pretty much the ‘don’t come near’ parent. They invited me for Thanksgiving (due to distance, 2 nights) and the whole time I was there, it was very odd. The two adults nearly never spoke to me, I couldn’t participate in the making of the dinner, spent all my time with the delightful kids, at the dinner table there was weird silence (except for the children), after dinner I was told to not help clean up–just stay with the kids–and the next day I left in the afternoon (apparently not fast enough for them I got the silent treatment from son-in-law). I hugged them, smiled, and left. That’s how it goes.

    Finally, once home, I realized that given a recent heart diagnosis, this could not go on. It was consuming my time-what did I do, what could I do to stop it, etc.? And it wasn’t good on my heart condition. Did having contact with my only child mean that I had to potentially put my physical health at risk? I called to ask to speak to my daughter about it—the call went badly–she called me names, told me I have problems(same kinds of thing her dad used to say as she was growing up), etc. I pleaded with her to tell me specifically what I do and that I’d try to change it. Basically ,she says I imagine everything, etc. I ended up calling her unkind and ungrateful—which she now won’t let me forget (maybe a mother should never do that but she doesn’t hesitate to call me names–still, I wish I hadn’t sunk so low… .)

    Why is this such a mystery? If there are specifics we could work on–but it just seems a general disrespect and more. And from my perspective, why is the largely absent parent when she was growing up who is now preferred (note I didn’t say I don’t want them to be together,etc., – I said preferred and presumably treated respectfully.

    Is my only child –and my amazing grandchildren– out of my life? Should they be? I’m out of solutions.

  95. I have a sister that is everything you mentioned. She hates me, she feels I have the better life. I have tryed to talk to here but it only leads to her yelling at me and problem is now worse or she storms off with some nasty comment. I now dread holidays to see my parents knowing she is there with some rude comment for me and the distain in here eyes. Parents dont help, Mom wants everyone to get along, but when my sister gets upset and starts throwning her tantrums my mother ignores it, puts up with it and looks away or leaves the room. My father is nearly the same and only gets mad when yelling match is already in full swing. They will not talk to her, maybe because like me they know just trying to calmly confront her will just enrage her again. Im at a loss here, I have to see my parents and have to put up with here tantrums and rude comments. The truly sad thing is her kids are turning out just like here. They only thing I can think to do is slowly drift away. When I know she is going to be there for something that is not that important, make excuses for not showing. When my parents are gone, I can cut ties with her completely. I know this sounds horrible and Im tears just typing this, but she cant be nogated with, you cant talk to her on a personal level, she just snaps……

  96. Hi I need some advice. I currently live with my mom because of some financial issues, but it is a nightmare. I’m 24 years old and a I have a 4 year old son, which my husband and I adore and do everything we can do dor him. I have problems with my mom, because she constanstly tells me I shouldn’t have any more kids, I don’t take care of him right. It hurts me so much, I try so hard sometimes not to say anything back but I get so angry. I don’t want to have a bad relationship with my mom but I hate that I’m always angry and cry in my room like a child because of the horrible things she tells me. She does help me at all when it comes to disciplineing my child she makes it worse. She gets him out of timeout when he is in trouble because she sais she is the grandma and what she goes. I don’t know what to do anymore. I have tries talking to her and she doeant take me seriously, her sisters have talked to her and she dismisses what they say. Please help me with some advice.

    • Hi Natalie,
      I’m so sorry you are having such a difficult time with your mom. It sounds like it’s past time for you and your husband to find a different place to live. Do whatever you can to resolve your financial issues so you can live independently. You are an adult and the parent of your child, and she is undermining your authority. Work on finding another arrangement.

    • Hi – wow reading all this has been such an experience – I always thought I was so alone but obviously not! I’m 61 and my 91 year old father is still alive. Ever since I was a teenager he has always put me down, I was never good enough, could never do right. My mom died about 7 years ago, I think he made her life a living hell in a lot of ways. I have an older and younger sister, we don’t speak, and they have never been close with each other. My older sister is an alcoholic and my younger sister is forever depressed, nothing makes her happy. And me, well I have anxiety disorder – talk about a dysfunctional family! What is really bothering me the most is my 91 year old father – well I want to make peace with him, but when I tried he brought up things I said or did when I was 10 years old! and from then on. He never calls me, when I call him he always says something to upset me, brings up things I’ve done in the past. He drinks pretty much everyday – and yes, he still lives at home on his own. My sisters love it that he and I have never had much of a relationship, and they tell lies to him about me. I have 2 sons and 2 daughters (grown) and my daughters have been horrible to me. Sometimes I think it stems from how I was treated. I’m trying to learn to handle their nasty mean comments in other ways, better ways. This has gone on for many years – I’d say at least 10 years with my daughters off and on. My sons I don’t seem to have any problems with. I don’t know though how I can make peace with my father, I used to see him every couple of months but now it’s a year or more and I find it so hard to go and visit him because I know I’m going to feel hurt. Any suggestions on how to deal with him? I’ve tried changing the subject, telling him I have to get off the phone (especially if he’s been drinking) am at a loss. Yes, it all hurts a lot, am trying my best to move forward with my life. Yes, it is a grieving process. It’s all very sad, and my heart goes out to all of you who have similar problems with family. I totally understand how you feel. Any comments welcome, thanks and God bless

  97. My husband and father of my young dAughter is like this to both of us for just over a year now. Sad thing is he’s in denial about it.

  98. My sister has been a tyrant since birth. My memories from zero to about ten years old are mostly feelings of lonelyness, shouting voices, having the job of looking out for her because she’s younger, doesn’t know better and both mum and dad were always at work. I made school friends and I would feed and talk to the birds in the garden. At 11yrs old we had to move cities for dads job. This was devastating to leave all i’d grown to enjoy to go into the unknown with these three people that constantly expected more from me. I remember being laughed at whenever I tried something new and I remember 3 hours up a tall tree alon and too scared to move after my sister baited me into climbing too high and refused to get help. Nobody noticed I was gone. The new intermediate school was full of cliche groups, none of which I fit into. Mum and dad were too busy with the house and work for advice, and again I was obligated to walk my sister home. We moved to a better house. Things were supposed to get better, but it didn’t. My sister continued her malicious ways. She insulted me daily, took toys clothing and makeup without asking and they never came back. These items were ruined by sand or mud or lost. She would poke me provoke me and invade my personal space constantly for hours relentlessly. I asked for parental assistance but all I got was “ignore her and go in another room” she was never punished for this behavio ur untill she lent mum’s shoes to a friend to wear to the mall. That did it. My sister had problems complying to rules and argued with authority. She ran away from home at 13. My parents were so upset and I was ignored. I was fed and clothed but there were no conversations unless I needed something for school. The police helped bring her home but mum and dad failed to hold her accountable. The yelling matches between her and them were angry and bitter and it didn’t teach me how to handle her at all. I’m 15 at this point wondering what to do with my life. But at home I feel like a piece of furniture. I learnt on my own how to make excuses for not going to the parties where drugs were present. I was given condoms and the pill but not taught about relationships. My first love cheated on me then I found him in bed with my best friend. My sister tried to hook up with him after that too. She wasn’t legal then. My parents never knew, they were arguing about the house extension. My sister ran away again and never returned. My parents made mammoth efforts to communicate with her but I was just in the background. I was expected to learn all I needed at school. I was a puppet pulled out for family photos and gatherings and I was expected to be grateful. As an adult I became mums soundng board for all of dads inadequacies. Constant news of my sisters antics towards others and questions of what I should be doing. I contnued to try to hold my toungue and get along as I now have kids and so des she. But she cheated my husband and I financially out of thousands. My mum says the word family like its an important religion but never elaborates on how his family should work. My dad is quiet 99% of the time. I’m nearing 40 now. I’ve had enough a decade ago, but if I cut them out of my life my children won’t know their cousins or grandparents. I’m stuck with this depressin and anxiety disorder

  99. I am 16 years old , my parent are divorced , my mom boyfriend hate us all , he even made took a naked picture of my sister .but the shocking part is my mom still stand with her boyfriend, she comes every morning just to hit my little 11 year old sister , she once took a plate and hit me on my new on the way to school , then she stopped the car and left me on the street , I don’t think i wanna see a family when i grow up , right now i need their money to finish my school , once i am done none of her family side will ever hear my name till my death .

  100. my chikdrens mother my long term partner of 17 years is so hatful and ile she even defrauded my mothers ladt will and testerment

    my eldest child with her even went as far as giving evidence in a child battery case against me in court trying to have me sent to prison the evil is unbearable

    my mother one week before she died worned me of there true nature being a loving dedicated father i thought she had gone mad…

    within months of her death my house was repoed my money stolen set up as a child abuser and had a 5 day trial in court

    once all the truth came out and they all were proven liars and crazy i had lost everything took me years to get over it

    still 10 years on they spend every day uploading nonsense to the internet saying im a convicted child abuser

    they have tats on there faces arms etc to try and upset me as they abuse themselves they self harm send me messages about killing themselves

    my eldest even had gold teeth feeted to his front teeth just so i could see him ruining his own life

    its very very weird to watch as the famiky when the kids were younger was perfect i mean perfect i felt blessed

    my doughter posts endless pcs of her self slutty and stupid looking pics again to try and destroy me

    there hate is so deep they hurt themselves to try and hurt me ITS VERY VERY WEIRD there mom has put a lot of mental stuff into there heads and her bipola nasty ways are now passed onto are children

    its sickening to witness they spend hours and hours on facebook telling people iv been to prison for child abuse OBVIOUSLY HAS NEVER HAPPENED

    they follow my partner when she is out clubbing film her and again call her a chid abuser

    its so far fetched you woud think im making it up IM NOT THIS IS REAL

    my second boy even attacked me at 4am in the city ceter as i went to pick up my partner from a night out

    he screamed in the street i was a child abuser to try and get drunk clubbers to attack me

    he then attacked me some stranger hearing my parter explaining his innocent his ex and kids have serious issues ran out rom the groud punched my son and nocked him out

    the police arrived i had him charged with assult he was convicted for it

    VERY VERY EMBARRASING AND DEGRADING how on earth do they have my DNA

  101. Thank you for writing this I have been dealing with some anger and other emotional problems going back to my childhood starting with my step mom who from the time I was 13 to 17 didn’t speak a single word to me while living in the same house it is helpful to see that I’m not the only one and there is more to life than family

  102. I have to ask… Do you have a PhD? Because this sounds like very sound advice. Furthermore, I attend university classes regularly, and whom ever this comment is addressed to (the writer of this article), you should seriously consider hosting some sort of class. It seems like you have some level of education or rational knowledge that can be highly marketable. This was so sound, that it applied to every facet of my life. Within minutes of reading this, I felt better of all the turmoil my family causes me. And I have struggled with finding a way to deal with them, and how to take their insults with grace. This article answered all of my questions.

  103. Thank you, Barrie for this post. I remember reading and appreciating it when it was first published, and reading it again now I feel the same way. Overall, allowing for acceptance of others, as they currently are, has been difficult when it comes across as negative and challenging to me. For whatever reason, I may not be feeling as supported and validated by another as I would like, so it bothers me, especially coming from people I would “expect” to behave differently. I’ve found that a focus on being true to myself at those times and really getting in touch with my own passions and excitement and intentions has made a huge difference. Rather than ruminating about what I don’t like and spreading that type of energy, I’m fueled by what I’m enthusiastic about and that’s the type of energy I express. I think if anything is to help foster healthy relationships, that’s a great start.

  104. My issue is with my big sister. For years we’ve had a bad relationship. But as we’ve grown older it’s got worse. She constantly putting me down, bullying me, if I speak up Im bad. She’s done much over the years that I can no longer forgive her. She likes to keep me out in the cold, gang up on to me and disrespect me. She is truly an awful person. She thinks she’s right all the time, not prepared to listen to others. She has no respect towards me and I’m the mug who always helps her out. But I can’t forgive get any more. I don’t like telling her anything ad she likes to sabotage everything. She’s become spiteful, resentful and full of hate towards me. She’s so used to getting awsy with what she does to her it’s normal. But I can no longer forgive her. She’s enjoyed talking about me to everyone then behaves as if she hasnt. She keeps telling me I’m fat, I feel
    So inhibited to go out because she makes digs. I feel so unappreciated. She’s never supported me with anything in life. It’s always me helping her.

  105. This article can be quite a blessing to many, including myself. I come from a dysfunctional family. My elderly mom passed on a year ago, and I was truly saddened. Still, her last moments with us were sweet and almost picture perfect. She passed peacefully, a true believer in our Divine Creator, and me, her son.
    Unfortunately though, it was not always this way. There was always a strong disconnect between her and the rest of her family, including my brother and I.
    My brother, being the oldest, was dealt a very difficult hand, causing him to pass on his insecurity, resentment and anger, even till this day. My life as a child was not easy, but I do know that his was even MORE so.
    Neither of us are spring chickens anymore. It is deeply saddening, because to me, my mom´s passing should have caused a new sense of “rallying”. Her passing was an opportunity to mourn together, laugh together, forget all ills together, start anew together and continue on into our golden years more united than ever. The opposite was true.
    The moral of all of this? For me, I have had to arrive at the following, as hard as it is. My brother is who he is and I am me. I cannot follow nor emulate his particular modus operandi, by returning the same, as this would be a type of “payback” or “an eye for an eye.” I must feel what I feel, and just continue moving forward. Hopefully, I will continue on, always trying to keep my convictions strong, with the hope that I will be a better man for it. I must always remind myself that I must never become bitter, but better. Maybe this has all been very humbling for me, but maybe, just maybe, this humbling is part of what will contribute to my becoming that better man.
    I´ll be 60 next month and will be celebrating my birthday along with remembering my mom, as she died 6 days before my last birthday. In 1 moment, I felt as if I was the oldest orphan on earth, yet, I am survived by a very supportive wife, 2 teenaged kids and a tassle of sweet doggies. My life is full. May I have compassion now, on those whose lives are not.

  106. Soo much pain on this blog. Here is what I did and I would recommend it to all of you.

    I recognized that the person in my life (my biological father) was full of pain and hurt, and as a result of that he had his limitations. That didn’t excuse his behavior though, which was apprehensible. When he crossed the line the 3rd time (the details are unimportant really), I sat down and wondered how a parent could treat their child that way. I thought long and hard about what he had never received in his life and what I wanted to leave him with. I wished my dad the awareness to understand his actions on himself and others, I wished him joy, happiness, and healing…and I included a picture of myself and his new baby grandson and left a way for him to make contact into the future if he came to the realization about himself and wanted to reconnect. I haven’t heard from him, nor do I expect to, and I occasionally look through the obituaries because his health is not soo great, but I am at peace with what I left him with. Sometimes, you just have to let go, but when you do, be nice, forgiving, and don’t shut the door forever. People are fragile on the inside even when they are mean and nasty and horrible on the outside. Just work to give people inner peace.

  107. It is amazing and shocking but these are the real emotions we must accept and live through. Some behavior and attitude will never change since we are only humans who have baggage and often this baggage is reflected towards immediate family members.
    I too am currently experiencing such negative energy towards me. I can say I have been a bad person nor can I say I have been an angel in growing up. So in a nutshell I am a typical average individual trying to balance myself out.
    I suppose the only thing we can do is to not to take these behaviors to heart but to rather tell ourselves it only makes us stronger. After all we too have our own faults.
    I will not lie, there are moments whereby I want to scream out and cry (and at times I do cry) but for how long?
    I truly hope not to take to heart and let it not consume me in the end.
    It’s a complicated life.

  108. My Great testimony!! I was having serious relationship problems with my boyfriend and it had resulted in him moving out to his friend’s apartment. Everything got worse because he started going to bars and strip clubs frequently with his friends, getting drunk and passing out. He always threatens me on phone whenever I call him because of all the bad advises that his friends has giving him. I really love him and we have been dating for 4 years which gave us a beautiful daughter. I have also lost a lot of money on therapists until I was introduced to Dr Mutuma, a powerful prophet by a friend whom he helped to get pregnant after 8years of marriage; this gave me total confidence and strength to get him back. I did all he asked and after 48 hours my boyfriend called me and rushed back home, things just changed between us emotionally. He secured a good job and stopped drinking and keeping irrelevant friends. It’s a miracle I never believed was possible because I had lost all hope until I found Dr Mutuma. So that’s why I promised to share my testimony all over the universe. All thanks goes to Dr Mutuma for the excessive work that he has done for me. Below is the email address in any situation you are or undergoing a heart break or any disease/sickness problem I assure you that as he has done mine for me, he will definitely help you too. Note That: he will ask you to pay a small token to get few materials to do the work. (drmutumahouseofsolution121@gmail .com) “He always keep his word”

  109. For me it’s my little sister . I just turned sixteen and she is thirteen and bigger than me in height . She is rude , disrespectfull , self centered , and overall nasty person . She calls me fat, ugly stupid , and immature while really she is immature . But there is more to it than that .
    I go to school in a diffrent town so I have to be up at four in the morning to catch the bus in a town closer to school . When I come home , I have to go straight to doing my homework and that’s not done until eleven or twelve at night . My mother is working three jobs without a husband in order to support us , so she is almost never home, leaving my sister and I to ” raise ” ourselves . So anyway , whenever I’m at school , my sister sees it as an invitation to go through my stuff . She goes into my drawers and uses ALL of my perfumes and lotion , then messes up my bed and leaves her hair jells and shoes all over my room ( and I’m already struggling to keep it clean ). One day she threw out my perfume I got for my sixteenth birthday , used the bottle as a water spray , and emptied another one of my favorite perfumes into the water , completely destroying it . She then rubbed hair cream all over my birthday card . However , if I ever did that stuff to her , she would flip . In fact , she put a lock on her door and broke the one off of mine , so now she has free 24 access to my room . It got to a point where I had to bring everything to school and lock them in my locker . Her perfumes and lotions are sitting all over the house because my mother and I don’t disrespect her stuff .
    She also started being disrespectfull to my mother , telling her ” You can’t make me” and ” You can’t control my life ” . My mother wanted us to be a family again , so whenever she gets time off of work , she wants to spend it with us . But every time , my sister gives an attitude and says ” You can’t make me go ” and ” you can’t tell me what to do ” . We have tried talking to her , but she’s not stupid and knows all the ” therapy” techniques and refuses for anyone to “win” as she calls it . Tonight however , she has crossed the line . She and I decided to clean the house so we got to it . She then started playing music . I get easily distracted and can’t work with music so I told her , but she wouldn’t listen . I know she can’t work without music , so I came up with a plan . I offered her MY headphones and MY hoodie so she would have music in her pocket with her phone and I won’t get distracted , but she complained saying that she didn’t have Pandora on her phone , but she does have Youtube and can put it in playlist . So I came up with a diffrent plan .i would clean my room and she can turn the volume down so that only she could hear it . As soon as I left for my room , she turned the volume all the way up . I came out to confront her and with the ugliest of bitchy attitudes I’ve ever seen , she said ” You’re gonna have to wait until I’m done ” . Infuriated and sick of her disrespect and bitchyness I plugged out the internet cord and tucked it under my arm . She followed me to my room and demanded to have it back , but I ignored her . When I left to hang up a jacket she shoved me into the door and began a series of stomping into my stomach and legs while trying to pry the cord from my hands. The went from pushing me to the floor to lifting me by my hair and kneeing me in the shoulder and side . Adrenaline and anger kept me from feeling the pain and I refused to fight back and be the “stupid one” . However , it all ended when she banged my head multiple times into a door hinge and I let go of the cord . ” I’m sick of you , you fat pig bitch “, she yelled before locking the cord in her room . I lay hurt , terribly bruised and defeated . With that , I fled to my mothers friends house in my pajamas and socks in the blizzerding snow and wind , crying my eyes out . Luckily , my mother was there when I reached the house and I cried telling her everything and asked her to call the police , of course she didn’t because it was a stupid reason , but at the time , my sister was the most abusive and heartless person on the planet . My mother checked me for any serious injuries and found a large bruise on my shoulder and a lump on my head from the door hinge . My head has been throbbing all day and I can’t open my mouth without pain of chew anything . The adrenaline has died down so I’m starting to feel all the pain . I don’t know what to do with my sister . This is the last straw and I’ve had it ! She thinks my mother and I are picking on her , but she doesn’t see how disgusting she is . Does she need theropy or is it home treated ? Please help . I have runout of options .

  110. Thank you for this article.

    My mother and oldest sister are the two difficult family members I am still dealing with now in my late 50s. I communicate with them by phone and message but limit physical contact. However, I am due for a visit and needed the reminder that I no longer need to be hurt and victimized by their bad behavior.

    My narcissistic mother is elderly now but still twists the knife and tries to control with the guilt trips. My sister has self-esteem issues and is a resentful, negative person. She uses subtle digs and passive-aggressiveness in her arsenal. Those two are at war with each other as well.

    I have a middle sister who was also caught up in the battles. Her escape was to check out through friends, boyfriends, work, school. Can’t blame her but that hurt at one point because we close. I have managed to resolve and regain some of that over time.

    Throughout the years, my sisters and I have banded together because mom was so crazy and difficult to deal with, but I have still played the role of verbal and/or emotional punching bag to the deeply frustrated oldest sister since childhood. She is an unhappy and insecure person who has become worse with age, it seems.

    Thank goodness I found my first self-help book at age 15 and have been reading books and articles to improve my life ever since. However, much as stated in the article, though I am able to intellectualize, it is still difficult at times to deal with my feelings and move forward.

    So I will reflect on the good advice about understanding and compassion. I will remember that I am a self-aware adult who has worked long and hard at making a happy and positive life. I will use the tools available to deflect and disengage the hurtful behavior. And I will make the choice to be a confident self-possessed adult. Thank you for the reminder.

  111. Hi Barrie
    I have just turned 40, I am so confused with life that the behaviour of my mom has now left me in a very bad state of depression, where I can only think of how to and when to commit suicide, not something I thought would happen to me, as I used to be a strong person, able to control my eotions, kept forgiving what my mom did and said and still doesthat is so painful, because for some or other reason I love her so much that I would actually give my life for her, but she clearly doesn’t care how she has made me cry and unhappy and in such a bad state that I think it is better to nolonger live than put up and forgive and keep on giving her everything she wants otherwise she is a very nasty person with a very poisonous tongue and not scared to say anything to hurt you in the worse way ever. Myself and my dad and two sisters has been living with this forever and she makes your life a living hell! Although my parents are devorsed, she still has so much control over my dad, because between him and myself we are the stupids, who keep on believing she will become a better person, she has been so physically and mentally abusive with our family, I still dream about all of this, I have to take sleeping tablets otherwise I get nightmares and my brain does not switch off, my sisters were very wise to move away and have fiances but she still makes their lives a living hell! I think she is still a spoiled little child of 6 years old although she is now in her sixties and does not care who or whatshe hurts, I have been trying to understand her, I have always been there for her, I look after her, but have moived to a new place, as ican no longer live with her, but I feel so guilty, she is all alone, and my dad is still so good to her, he still looks after her, although he is the most terrible person on earth according to her, we can only do something right for 5 minutes and she is in a different terrible, horrible, scary, screaming, cursing abusive mood!!!! She is so jealous I never could have friends cause she would be bad mouthing them, still does, even if she doesn’t know them. What has happened, I can’t fix it, I am trying but I am failing, I am losing control over my life. I have lost interest in everything I used to love, I just want to stay in my bed and when I wake up, it is so disappointing that I am still alive, that I love my mom so much, that I cry most of the time. I am not a child anymore, but I always felt like she was the child and I the mother, I needed her so badly and she was not there, I don’t think I can cope with this manipulation anymore, I don’t know why, I have tried almost everything you suggested but I failed all the time, I am tired of being unhappy all. My life andcrying 99 persent of my life, I love people but don’t trust anyone, I know I need help, but to explain this to people is impossible. I have the most wonderful people in my life but I am affraid I will hurt them, because they can’t understand when I get too quiet, I feel I can’t put on the acting part where I entertain everyone without them knowing how much I hurt, I feel like I need to not be around anyone so they won’t be hurt when I decide life is too much, its all I think about now adays, I am getting more anxiety attacks now that I am trying to cut out everyone in my life, why am I allowing this to happen to me, I can stop it by just pretending I don’t have a mom, but I CAN’T!!!!! I love her so much even though she is killing me slowly, am I crazy?? I can’t even have a relationship with a guy cause I can’t put them through this kind of stuff they won’t understand, I feel lonely, although I have many people in my life, but impossible to tell them anything. Why do you love someone that hurts you so badly all the time…..

  112. I’m so glad that I stumbled across this article. I’m in my 30s and live with my parents for financial reasons. My dad has always been difficult, flying off the handle and having screaming, vicious tantrums for no apparent reason. Nothing I do or have ever done is right and my confidence is rock bottom. On 3 occasions now I have heard him absolutely slating me really viciously twice to his friends and once to my mam… The things he was saying were lies, not just little lies but absolute fabrications of events which had never even existed. He lies compulsively about everything, from silly little things to huge lies. He hardly ever speaks to me, never asks sbout my life, tries silly little stunts to wind me up like putting the tap on when I’m in the shower to make the water run cold, deliberately going into the bathroom when he knows I need to get ready for work and other little but stupid things.
    The stuff he says when he goes off on one is utterly vicious and extremely hurtful usually along the lines of me being selfish, crazy, should be locked up in a f*****g mental hospital, no wonder no one likes me, unlovable etc etc. sometimes he will makes comments which are passed off as thoughtless but are actually pure evil. My mam is stuck in the middle and can be a bit the same but not by nature I don’t think more by association and it’s a bit of a learned habit. She makes excuses for him constantly and always jumps to his defence..
    He can also be a very charismatic character with a good sense of humour and to the outside world he’s great fun and will help anyone. At the moment I have felt like I don’t know where to turn or how to get away from the situation, writing this is hard enough actually telling anyone face to face what is going on is a mortifying thought so I just sort of do nothing. I feel utterly unlovable, unattractive and useless. This article has made me aware that I’m not alone as I did think that I was the only adult stupid enough to be in this situation. Thanks for taking the time to write it x

  113. Hi,
    I have difficulties with my step sons. I have known them for 25 years, they are 32 and 29 and both are a hot mess. They are very disrespectful to my husband and me. My husband and I have 2 sons together also who are 22 & 23, they don’t even want to be around their brothers. I have come to realize the idea of the one big happy family is over, the dream is shattered. I have tried and been loving and respectful to my step sons, now they each have children and neither has been married, their baby mamma’s are both horribly unfit mothers. Instead of getting some counseling and trying to work things out, they have both taken very different positions with the baby mamma’s, however the common thread is utter disrespect for the mothers of their children. The oldest Anthony, has abandoned his son and chose, drugs, stealing and gambling, leaving his child with a bipolar, obsessive compulsive, depressed mother who threatens suicide often. Child services have been called multiple times and she gets it together enough to keep her our brandon. Anthony says he loves his dog more than his son. He now has 2 other children with a girl and missed his sons first footsteps because he was incarcerated. He is now out and in rehab and things are not looking good. The other Andrew has taken full custody of his daughter, while the babies mother was in a one year rehab he and his daughter moved in with us and I cared for my granddaughter in place of her mother. I have gotten to attached to this sweet little girl. Her Mom got out of rehab, moved to our town and regained joint custody. Things were good for a while, but every chance Andrew got he called his baby mamma “a horrible mother”, “The worst mother in the world”, “Whore, drug addict”, you name it, he takes a shot at her every chance he gets. She recently relapsed, got raped and beaten, got pregnant, had an abortion and it was Christmas so we let her live with us for a couple weeks because her apartment got infested with bed bugs. Of course he thought we were wrong to help her. She is here alone with no family and she needed help. After Christmas she went into rehab again and he filed for full custody. He just kicks her while she is down. He is so mean and disrespectful. He said he won’t rest til she never gets to see her daughter again. Well my granddaughter loves and needs her mother. He is so disrespectful at my husband and I because we told him to just give her some time to get back on her feet. No, he is going to try and ruin this girl, he is truly evil. I truly dislike both of my step sons and their baby mammas, they are going to ruin my beautiful grand children. I have no respect for any of them. This step mom is stepping out, but I am so attached to those beautiful grandkids. What should I do?

  114. Seeing All your comments I too want to share my story with my Sister and mother

    My sis is one yr younger to me .When I was born I was given to my grand parents and till 7 years I was with them .Then immediately my mum felt that I am getting close to them she shifted me to the house .I always looked upon my grand mother as Mother .Still today If I have all morals It is because of my grand mother .My sis somehow did not have any good relation with mefrom I time I remember .She was always interfering in my life .She never had good girl friends she always used to hang out with my friends .She never once in her life introduced me to her friends,Infact she always had only Boy friends I don’t remember her having any good girl friend and hanging out with them .I got married according to my parents wish .She had live in relationship and got married.She used me for everything in her life came to our house for her studies stayed her was mean to me at that time too.My mum talks to me closely and she is aware what my sis is doing to me but somehow she is so supportive to my sis .There were instances where my mum planned to come to me but flew to my sis place as she left her 6 month old kid to go to job 2 hours from the house .That was not at all necessary for her to do but for only making money she left as my brother inlaw was in good position.My mum supports all those things .She got married never informed us .so many things like this.she thinks I am bad I am jealous,she want to put her down ,all these things she called me and told me on my face.She does not wish my kids on thier birthdays she is so mean to me .When I shared all this to my mum she is expecting me to forget all that come to her party.My mother supports whatever she does no matter it is right or wrong .She literally talks like her .i think all these years I was trying to be good because my sis loner but now it is beyond my bearing capacity when she called me and told I am so bad and all the abusive words .
    I want to completely forget it sometimes lowers my self mother just want to ignore all this and want me to forget and be normal .she is always try to save her guilt as I was loved a lot from my grand parents and my sis was ignored now she wants to compesate all that when she has time .
    I have good life with good friends .I don’t want to be with any contact with my sis I did so much to her and she was always abusive when she was studying I gifted her vacuum cleaner because she is a student and I wanted to help her so that she can save up her money I gave in good idea .But she said I gave her to show my ego and because she fed me for the 2 -3 days I stayed there I am compensating for that .What kind of cheap thinking she has .I don’t want my kids also involved with her .In my complete life she is the only negative person I have seen .Who said some very horrible words to me .Feels bad that I have such a family .When I see my husbands family his brother is so close to him they do so much for us and my inlaws also do so much for my kids .Why do I have such complicated family .Who cannot LOVE.There is so much negative feeling when I think about this .How should I ignore and not go to this party .Why Should I even go ?To satify my mothers feelings?what about my feelings?I am blamed so much ?what about that ?Need solution for this ?

  115. Hi Barrie,

    Just like someone else said – thank you for this article. I feel like i’m losing it a little and it was very helpful to read!
    I am the youngest of 3 sisters. My oldest sister was diagnosed as bipolar about 15 years ago and that’s a whole other situation, but the middle sister hates me and i don’t know why. Even as kids she was always super mean to me, but i got along great with my oldest sister.
    In high school, when my oldest sister was at college, me and my older sister seemed to get along ok. Even through college we were on good terms. But then in our 20’s she started to get really mad at me for all kinds of things. One time i kissed a guy that she was friends with – NOT the one she liked, but just a friend – and she didn’t speak to me for a whole year. It was so hurtful. For years i would kiss her ass and cater to her because i felt i had done something wrong, even though i never knew what it was. It was only until about 5 years ago that i finally realized that nothing i did would ever be good enough for her. She had chosen to hate me and everything about me. just awful, and again SO hurtful!!
    And then we lost our dad about 2 years ago. It has been a very traumatic and difficult time, and now my mom is dealing with the estate and all kinds of things. My middle sister has been helping her with some of the office stuff, and acts like she’s giving blood to help my mom. I would do it in a heartbeat but I live 8 hours away.
    I called my sister in January to talk with her about the family overall, and she hasn’t called me back – it’s been almost 3 months. I have NO idea why she hasn’t called me back – my mom says that she says she’s been “very busy”. My mom seems to think it’s no big deal that she hasn’t returned my call, but to me it’s just more hurt and more of an “F-U” to me.
    Can you give me any insight as to how to deal with her? If/when she does call back should i return her call or just be done with her forever? This whole things has affected my health and emotions greatly. Thank you!

  116. After 40 years of putting up with a mean spirited sister in law, I finally just stepped out of the picture. I tried killing her with kindness, not responding to her rude, rude comments, sitting her down and having a talk with her. She would stop for awhile and then start again with the unbelievely rude comments.

    She also did some deep hurts flriting with other men in front of me and My Mom, blatenly flirting with a boyfriend she set me up with you would think with me having this info she would be a bit more humble NO!

    One day after going with her and my Brother to Knots berry farm, we went back to her house the minute he left the room she started with her rude remarks. I have spoken to my Brother and he says what can I do. He is attracitive and physically healthy she constantly puts his looks down even though she is waay fatter and older looking. Anway, after her rude remarks I left the house and it was like a light when on. It doesn’t matter that I have never done anything to this women actually it’s been opposite, so for whatever reason I just decided right then and there to end it and I have and I am content without her in my life.

    I am angry at myself for not doing it loooooooooooong ago. I love her, but don’t need to put up with her nonsense. I am so glad I kept my integrity and never hit below the belt her and a mean spirited cousin I had to let both go and feel soooooooooooooooo much better.

    I never talk ill of them and have not shared with anyone that I don’t want them in my life dodging invites and avoiding were they will be has been easy.

    I have Peace.

  117. Thank you so very much for this article.

    I am hoping by sharing my story I will help those amerced in toxic family and friendship relationships and show that in order to love yourself how it is better to walk away. I know how hard it is to make the decision to disassociate from these toxic relationships as we are all in need of supportive loving family and friends. However when the choice are made by trusted family members to belittle, undermine and hate it is absolutely the right thing to do. One must walk away and learn to heal. Bad behavior and abuse does not get better or go away.

    I am adopted. That said I have my own set of issues. My adoptive mother loved me but she was married to my adoptive father who was not so loving but rather controlling.

    My adoptive brother just followed suit and encouraged me to drink toxic paint as I was thirsty at age 4 and he was 14. So these circumstances were the marks against me growing up. I was in a hostel environment that was now my home.

    To compensate for all the negativity and rejection I became a people pleaser and daydreamed to check out. I was overcompensating for being the scapegoat of the family’s problems.

    My adoptive parents drank alchol every night and argued. Although they were very successful people in their community and in business, they were really just functioning alcoholics.

    By the time I was in highschool my brother was well out of the house lived in another town and married for the first time however he decided to work the family business. My parents decided to travel the world so were not around much and left me in the care of the housekeeper. She was kind and loving.

    When my mother was in town we were close like best friends especially when she found out my father was having an affair with a close family friend. She leaned on me for support and confided in me at age 16, to never tell a soul including my father. I hated my father for hurting my mother and hated his lying mistress. I sided with my mother. The continuous traveling was an attempt to keep him away from his mistress. My grades in school dropped. This was too big a secret to keep for a child.

    I went off to college and graduated. After college I moved to Chicago and started my life without my family’s consent. They were in Europe at the time of my graduation from college. Not one family member showed. I returned home to an empty house and made the decision that if I stayed there and went into the family business that I would be in hell. I learned this when I worked for the family business during college breaks as my supervisor was my brother. He would wait at the time clock and if I was one minute late ( which was not often but would happen infrequently as I had an hour commute) he would dock me 1/2 a day’s pay. Sometimes he would dock me anyway. He would report back to my father that I was not doing a good job. Other people in the company praised my work and positivity. My father was confused.

    So I moved to Chicago to live with my best friend Carla. Many of my friends that I grew up with were in Chicago after college so I felt supported. My grandfather started a savings account for me when I was 6 months old and adopted into the family. I was now 21 and could claim this money as mine.

    Without my parent’s consent I moved, got a job and found a cheap apartment to share. My father would not speak to me for 4 months as he did not approve. My mother insisted that he come to Chicago to celebrate our birthdays in October. They both came and when they saw my furnished apartment my mother was concerned as it was a dump. My roommate was living with her boyfriend and just used the place for storage.

    My father saw his way in and insisted that I find a decent place and he would cover my rent and help me furnish it. I wish I would have never accepted this offer because this set the pattern for the rest of my life while he was alive. Most people might think what a lucky girl. This was the beginning of control. Then a trust fund and more control and telling me every move or he would cut me off. The money was like a drug. All the while telling me i am worthless and that I am lucky that he will support me as I could never make it on my own. I was weak and bought into what he was saying. I did what he said and was a “good girl”. When he died my brother (the co-executor) and the family lawyer (the executor) found a way to dissolve the company that funded the trust after I accused them both of stealing. Then the hell began a 6 year estate settlement resulted in legal. I lost everything trying to fight for my half of the estate. As after year six my brother would not buy me out of the family business as promised after we liquidated all of my father’s assets to pay for the taxes. My brother was smart as he owned before my father’s death 26% of the family business. He was the majority shareholder. My lawyer made an error by letting the estate’s liquidation and said in the end I needed a litigation lawyer now. I feel she was bought out. I spent my entire savings and even borrowed money from my trust to pay for all this legal and while going through this was going through a divorce. No more money so he was out of there too. As this is all he was after. Like my father he had a mistress that he rode off into the sunset with.

    Once well off I was now poor. So poor that I became homeless for a time. I reached out to my sister-in-law, thinking since I introduced her to my brother after his divorce, as she was a friend of mine prior to their marriage, for help and she directed me to a homeless shelter in San Francisco, where I was living. I finally got a job but was not making enough to survive and learning how to do without most comforts. Out of the job market for 20 years and re-entry is not that easy. There are skills to learn so you are marketable. I have accomplished skills now.

    While this is all happening I turned to friends as I had no family, that I have had all my life. I found out that they were not friends at all. I was no longer one of the wealthy so therefor out of the club and divorced. When you are in a desperate situation and need a place to stay, a job or money I have found that no one is there for you as they see this as a sign of weakness. They collectively could not understand how anyone could do this to someone unless they deserved it. “What did you do?” “You must have done something to cause your brother to do this to you!” Greed is the simple answer. However I feel my brother has always resented me and my sister-in-law jealous and wanting everything I have and this includes my social circle.

    My sister-in-law and brother are now very wealthy and I am single and struggling. I have move 8 times in the last 5 years. My best friend, Carla is now good friends with my sister-in -law. As my sister-in-law has the money and the family name. Not only does she have everything she has slandered me in my hometown and most people have listened.

    My class reunion was so telling. People were coming up to me saying I’m friends with Emily and walking away from me. I was angry. I’m the broke one and they are distancing me because they took my inheritance. I didn’t get it because I’m sure she is saying more. What I may never find out.

    Most recently my niece was married and although they were both looking at my social media, really stalking no invitation was extended. This was the final hurt. I confronted my sister-in-law at the end of the conversation via email.
    She accused me of threatening her family and that she was going to contact a lawyer. I spoke of my grievance that she had never allowed me to develope a relationship with my nieces. And confronted her that she was stalking me on social media and since my brother will not even return my once a year call on his birthday that she is crossing the line.

    I have walked away entirely now. And am making it on my own. I formally and with tact informed my brother that I do not want any more contact with my sister-in-law and that they are both abusive and destructive to my well-being. The final straw was when my sister-in-law contacted me again 6 months later after asking her not to contact me again. She informed me that my ex-best friend’s father passed away. Her family and father were my second family. Unfortunately, Carla is now friends with my sister-in-law and has decided that she is the truthful one and that I deserved everything I have gotten in life. Carla has also turned the rest of the group against me.

    All this loss put me in a depression and much therapy. But I have risen up as a stronger person and realized that all the while when I was involved with these so called friends and family that I had to bend and be a people pleasure to have them in my life. The rebellion that I had resulted in losing these people. I learned that when I had no more to give emotionally and monetarily they were gone.

    Now, the people in my life I call friends I can count on and they can count on me. The relationships are no longer one sided. A wise friend once said to me that you cannot mourn something that you never had your only mourning that you do not have the support in your life you deserve. I never had a supportive family nor true friends. I just didn’t want the circumstances to be so. I daydreamed my reality and people pleased to try and create a family and loving friends.

    I no longer have to do this. When the dark thoughts come I forcefully remind myself I deserve kindness and happiness. I deserve supportive people in my life. I am deserving of all thing good.

    Now I do not have to daydream anymore. I create my own reality that is healthier and supportive. I come first and then those I love.

    I have let go of the negative people that dominated my life.

    Toxic family and friends are not to be tolerated. Perhaps the nasty people in life can change by you requesting them to stop or you will move on. In my case I was not as fortunate. Letting go of family is hard but if you feel badly around these people and they bring you down I feel you have no choice but to let go in some capacity if not all.

  118. I have a toxic family.

    I have tried pleasing my mother all my life. Taking care of “her” sick mother, so she could go on vacation with my father and brother. She even made me spend a two years living with my grandmother (I was 10 years old) so her mother would not feel so lonely.

    My brother is several years younger than me. Everything he does is “right”. She even once told me that all I do is bad and all he does is good. I am over 50 now and nothing has changed. I live next door to her which makes matters worse. I see her every day. When she wants something she will act nice. If I let her down she is the “wicked witch next door”! Example, “Doris help me pull out weeds in the garden.” “No. Not today mom, I have some errands to run.” She won´t talk to me for two days. She doesn´t like being alone and she hates going on vacation alone with my dad. For 15 years straight my husband and children went on vacation with my mother and father, just to keep her satisfied. One year, we did go alone without her and my dad and she had a fit. She does not remember this. She doesn´t remember a lot of things she did to me. She will only stuff my ears full of all the good things she did.

    She controls my father, he has to be on her side, or else she is very unpleasant. Once he told me that knows she loves my brother more. My father is very sick and I help her take care of him, my brother has no time. When my brother has time, he still has no time. He only comes when he wants something. I´ve noticed my brother is like her plain “mean”. Very controlling. He is known to be mean, by people that have to do with him. My mother is very respectful toward him. I think he is the only person in the world that she is afraid to make mad. I´ve tried talking to him about the way she treats me, but he doesn´t want to hear it. He gets very annoyed. I´ve noticed him acting the same towards me and my family (my husband and children) when something does not go his way.

    I´ve cried a lot in my life because of her. She is not only mean to me but to my children and husband too. I have four children. Hes very respectful to her, my children too.

    Sometimes it gets so bad that I just avoid her a few days. I wish we didn´t live so close. I feel hate, which bothers me, because your not supposed to hate your mother. I´ve even thought about killing myself to punish her…isn´t that awful.

  119. So helpful to read these comments. I am 41 years old and only after suffering a nervous breakdown 2 years ago did I realise the terrible effect that my family has had on me, and still does. I try so very hard to break away and not react to the abuse and neglect that they show me, but it is so hard not t o internalise it and believe that I am worthless as they see me. To them I am completely invisible and only alive to serve them. The worse thing is that I have now realised that over the years I have chosen friends and partners who mirror this abuse and neglect. I have only just realised that actually I have not one person around me who loves and cares for me unconditionally. Its a very tough pill to swallow, and I feel unspeakably alone as I let them go from my life. But I’m hoping beyond hope that a new outlook and new people around me, finding someone who might care for me as much as I care for them, might help me to start having some respect for myself and help me to finally build a life. I really hope I’m right! My advice is to forge your own path as soon as you can, respect your rights as a human being, don’t let yourself get so ground down that you no longer have strength to walk away..
    I wrote a song on this, the lines are “Happier at home, happier I know, happier all told, since I let you go. Boats ties to the shore, pulling at the rope, untied every one and let them float.”

  120. I happened upon your column by accident. I can’t even begin to tell you how you helped me cope w/just a few words. Finally I know I’m not crazy! My oldest brother used to be very close w/me until he decided to take advantage of my parents divorce, conning my father out of his new truck. My mother so upset that she said he was out of her will. So, to return to her ‘good graces’ he stole my diary, made copies & gave them to family members. My mother denies it, but she constantly quotes ‘little tid-bits’ constantly torturing me. Also, she makes it known that I’m out of the circle and he is now back in because he used me & threw me under the bus. I find it odd that even tho his actions were more terrible, she finds more forgiveness for him. But, my heartfelt words to her were more intolerable??? My brother also bragged to me & my fiancee that he had sex with our cousin. But once again, THAT doesn’t even trump my words! And like you said, they all flock to my mother & do what she wants. As a result ALL of my other siblings have jumped on board & don’t speak to me anymore. I guess I was the one disowned. Now I only speak to my mom, but we are not the friends we used to be. I think it will never be that way again. All over another’s greed. Yes we speak, but not often & calls are bland & are often about matters of no importance. Very hurtful and hateful to treat me so bad, knowing I can have no family of my own. I was always good to them all, there for everything(weddings, births, birthdays, other holidays). I just don’t get the betrayal by the others. Yes, it has spiraled out of the immediate family, because I have been finding other relatives treating me badly as well. I have pretty much disconnected from all family now, its just easier for me. I’m really too emotional to be constantly bullied and to be just plain mean to. I just don’t want it or need that negative feeling in my life forever. They act like everything is fine, but it can’t be so. I say let them pluck each other’s eyes out!

  121. My sister’s daughters lived at their mother’s home til late 30’s, one is still there at 40 years old, the other has gotten married. The both were in the house when my mother was declining from dementia. They have always treated their grandparents disrespectfully. During this hard time my sister took care of my mother, and they together were able to afford a little house, which these 2 girls moved into with them. One of them took to stealing my mother’s pain pills, leaving her without anything for pain, the other was generally mean and disrespectful. I live out of state and on a visit picked up on what was happening and had a huge fight with them. One of them still lives there after my mother’s death and is still quite a bully with my sister, threatening to leave all the time like that would be a bad thing. They are both trying to separate my sister and me, trying to sabotage the relationship, telling her that I behaved wrong to them and she should not be talking to me. They are bigoted and have said mean racial things to my daughter who is half black. I don’t want to lose my sister. I can’t even visit there right now because the older girl lives there with my sister. I’m so sad about that. We need each other, we lost our mom and we just need each other right now. She can’t visit here because she babysits the older girl’s son after school. I’m just sad.

  122. Thank you for the article. I have lived and still have emotionally abusive relations. I am surprised at the repetitive patterns in my life. I feel sad and emotionally abandoned because of self serving, manipulative and divisive family members . Because of this , much to my own embarrassment and chagrin , I find myself envious of people who have close families , many people they can visit and stay with and enjoy vacations with. There is no dearth of people who do their best to flaunt their fortune in my presence. I am also fortunate by god’s grace but when close relationships are strained it can feel like life has no meaning. I do immerse myself in my hobbies and passions , but even so, I feel a void in me.

  123. Hi yes this was great in helping me cope!thank you! Will try to reacte by not negatively reacting. I try to have pleasant dsts but my dear close friend causes a problem with nasty accusations And gets very drunk

  124. Hello i have an issue that deals with my kids amd family and neglecting my children frome me and my family lying to my kids about me being the motheras well feeling emotionally abused bullies made fun of family and neighbors contributing to humiliating me keeping me in the dark for well not sure but i would say 2 years and i just am figuring all this out just barely not too long .who can i speak to as of doing something about this situation becuase it came to a point were i could not take anymore humiliation from family neighbors and peopme that disnt even know what was the reason people were being the way they were to be .i live i. Dallas Texas please help me as of who or what to do asap thank you

  125. Hi I’m Josephat,have been living with my elder brother since I finished school,he has been treating me fairly and abuses me everyday he comes from work,He is not yet married so I do everything for him yet he doesn’t see the much I do for him and instead pays back with only arrogance and inhumaness,,at some point suicidal feelings passed through my mind because of what bad he does to me,right now I don’t know what to do coz I’m still at school and I can’t live alone coz I don’t have any finances to cater for myself,,please advise me if you can.

  126. I came home crying like a baby today after having to leave my sisters house after I told her I’d like to stay one more night even if my mother was going to stay couple more nights. I gave my sister the opportunity to let me know if it was OK to stay after I told her I didn’t want to impose because I know my sister can she tell me now after I ask her if I can stay a couple more nights again. So I waited for her to tell me but she never said anything and I have to go home. And I cried all the way home. So I looked for a website to see if I could just try toTo find some comfort and understanding about this and your website really helped.Thank you so much

  127. Thank you for your wonderful discussion on this terrible experience I’ve dealt with since my biological parents divorced at the age of 14. I have a stepmom (step monster, as I have to describe her, sad but absolutely truthful), she’s never actually accepted me into the marriage of my Father’s children. My daddy has four children with my biological mother(it’s been a very painful experience, because I’ve dealt with everything unimaginable since they were destroyed by adulterous, drinking, poker, pool, bars, you name it, it has happened), I have never looked at it that way, I can only say I’ve probably prayed for everything, and everyone to get along for the sake of the children, who are hurting the most. My step mom chased my daddy after meeting him in the business of his business. I know for a fact, but he was responsible and so was she responsible for their actions. I’m saying this to say I have dealt with her toxic behavior for 35 years, manipulative and narcissistic behavior getting involved with my business every time I’ve had troubles in my life. I’m a person who takes a lot of my business to God, and she’s always finding fault with everything I do. I’ve tried very hard to be a loving step daughter, but she’s very difficult. She’ll even address me when I say something like she’s seems to be very jealous of me and I don’t understand why. She’ll even get everyone involved with the remarks she has started plus calling the church with her toxic behavior. I’ve tried everything to show her mercy but she’s like she’s got ACD behavior. It’s only been towards me. I’m a very sensitive person but I’m very very sincere about my love for family and my children. I’ve had a very tough long life but I’m not going to live for it because I’m not at any fault because of my family was broken by my biological parents. I’ve felt as if I have been the fault in their break up. I have actually thought about this for awhile that I could be adopted by them, and ask God how could anyone be so evil towards me because the behavior from her is very toxic behavior like she would rather see me dead because she hates me that much. I’m not sure how to categorize them. I’m just to the point that I’m not able to deal with this behavior anymore I respected her for many years due to my biological father had married her. I’m looking for relief from her toxic behavior about me. She’s been a very controlling person with only my life, and I am 55 years old. My father passed away in 2016- I’ve done many things for her and tried to be a person that is loved by her but I can’t make her love me. I believe it’s been her toxic life since she’s been on the earth. I have removed my life away from this now, but she’s spreading rumors about me. My business is not her business because she has always wanted her nose into my business but she’s always been very confident that I need to do things her way. I’m a grown adult, and I’m afraid that I’m going to have to take her to court due to her slander towards me. I’ dealt with this for 30 years. Something has to come to an end to stop this behavior because it’s lies and furthermore I’ve had enough.

    I enjoyed the writing and it gives me understanding about a toxic situation or behavior towards me and that is so bad. She’s a Christian as well, I just find it very hard to understand what her problems are with me but I have finally come to realize that I’m not her problem I am just a person who she has thrown darts in my heart since day one. Sometimes it’s what you see and she doesn’t like me because I am a very honest person. I’m the only child that knows her life and what she’s done to break up my family and I know that it takes two. I forgive her and my father but she’s just narcissistic and she’s not going to change anything because she knows everything and she’s very controlling and she’s had her way with talking garbage about me. First of all I don’t care about what her opinion of me are anymore. We’ve all made mistakes but she’s pointing fingernails at me and never knows anything nice about me. I’m just going to pray for her. Thank you for helping me understand the behavior with her.

  128. My brother is very disrespectful every time I talk to him. I am a 45year old happily married, Nurse, and mother of 5 beautiful children. He is a cop and treats me like someone he hates or has arrested. He calls me names and I have put a stop to it. My parents are very upset because they feel I should talk to him and tolerate that behavior just because he is my brother. I will not do it. The worst part is he will not let my kids talk to their cousins because he said my kids are a bad influence. It always seems funny to me that everyone loves my kids and thinks they great but my parents and my brother. I want to be done with both toxic relationships, but I feel guilty because they are “family.” I have friends that treat me better than my so-called “family.” Why do I feel guilty for doing what is best for me and my husband and kids and stop seeing and dealing with the toxic family members?

  129. Hello all, My heart goes out to you. Though now departed, my mother was extremely cruel. I was an imbecile always being hit around the head. Every negative remark you could think of was directed towards me. My father was the complete opposite and loved me unconditionally – sadly he passed away 14 years before my mother. But gladly I was married by then and lived many miles away from her, so visits were few and far between. Always fraught with the same old put-downs. Now I am left with a personality disorder and an aversion towards women, my spirit broken but somehow I manage to function and do the daily round. Plus I have a wonderful spouse – so a blessing has come out of all the dross. May you too find a blessing at the end of the valley of death x

  130. How about people that you work with that you can’t get away from, other than quitting the job?

    How about adult bullies from your past that you’ve run into — and they’re still bullies?

  131. They are everywhere the bullies, the insecure ones, and its a shock to find our parents and siblings are as well. Having a mother who was undermining, cold, jealous, and caused trouble between myself and siblings, made me feel an outsider, with names like the ghost and she. It was painful to get to 60 and finally cut her out of my life and my sister who literally sides with her against me. I am not a victim have always been positive and looked for the good things in life, I do not like to be controlled thus their frustration with me. However I have my own children and raised them with love and respect. I check my behaviour towards them making sure I am not being like my mother, they are very much loved and can talk on any subject I am very aware of resolving issues from their childhood which was not so great as I married someone like my mother which caused a mental break down. Did anyone care? No, I got myself through the darkest days and managed to raise my sons basically alone, whilst my mother gave her attention to someones else daughter, I was shamed by her and ignored. My problem is I have an anxiety attack when I meet someone like her and have an exit from the situation. Its not all bad, my children are delightful and we have a great relationship and out of a negative grows a positive, my advice get away from them find a beautiful place to live nature is very healing, and love your children and listen to them, do not let insiduous people/parents make their bad behaviour a legacy.

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