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Posted by kookacola , 18 June 2015 · 1,607 views

For the past few years, I've been feeling like I don't belong in my family.  Family I mean my mom, sister, cousins on my mother's side of the family.  My sister is an alcoholic, my mother's life is in shambles since she left her dh 6 years ago, and I found out recently that my family except my oldest cousin has been making cheap shots at dh.  I could see if dh was a jerk to them, ok, but he's not.  I don't know anything about what's going on in any of my familys' lives and I don't know why they don't want to share or include me.  I do realize that my one of my cousins whom I was very close with had a falling out over his girlfriend sticking her nose in my mother's and mine's relationship a few years ago and didn't come to me and discuss it with me before she went to my mom and then in turn my mom laid into me.  Before we had dd, there were time where I didn't speak to my sister or my mom and honestly as sad as this is, I was happier when I didn't speak to ether of them.  After I had dd, I though I should put up with their crap because of dd and that I felt she needed to have a relationship with my family.  My sister doesn't have a nice thing to say about me or towards me, my mother isn't supportive and the last time we saw her, never paid much attention to dd.  An she wonders why I don't want ot spend the money to go out and see her.  Those relationships are so volatile.  But an example of being excluded is when I phoned one of my cousins a few weeks ago and offered to pick her up at the airport, I asked for her cell phone number, she did everything to ensure I never got her number but she wanted mine, it's petty I know but my gut tells me that I'm being excluded.  I know I have a strained relationship with my other cousin (meddling girlfriend) and I've tried to resolve it but I can't change anything if he doesn't want to.  When my aunt was dying, I was told I wasn't allowed to go back and see her but other friends and relative could stay as long as I want.  And people wonder why I'm upset.  So, my sister who was there to drink the booze and eat the food could stay endless hours but I wasn't able to go back and say a proper good bye???? I feel like I'm not part of this family anymore and I'm really struggling with this.  My first aunt passed 16 years ago and the family was torn apart.  We all came together to offer support for one another and this time, it's everyone for themselves.  What funny, is my oldest cousin who's stable in all sense of the word and has the most money and resources treats me like a person and the rest of them don't.  I really can't wrap my head around why.  So when my second aunt passed away, I feel that there's so much disconnect.  I know that the rest of them do keep in touch, said cousin who wouldn't part with her numbe rto me, texted my youngest cousin every day last week but felt the need to draw to my attention in an email that I should be grateful for the 15 minutes I did have with her mother and not complain or be upset that it took us 5 hours there and back to see her.  I'm pretty sure that if the tables were turned, she'd be very upset and hurt.  She also would like her mother using a dying relative's death as another way to throw control around.  I have talked to dh about this at great length and I have decided that we will go to the funeral but after that, I'm going to take a step back.  I really don't know what I should do next but this being excluded and talked about behind my back and comparing dd to the other cousin's dd has got to stop.  Do cousins drift apart as they get older? Maybe it's the natural thing? in light of this circumstances, it's disturbing me a lot.  Sorry for the long post

Jun 18 2015 01:57 PM

Wow, first of all, I'm so sorry about your aunt and that you are having to deal with all this dysfunctional crazy-making. That's very sad and draining, I imagine. This sort of thing has been a hot topic in my family for the last few weeks, after watching a huge fracture develop (over just a day or two) in my BIL's family. A bunch of back-stabbing, shunning, poor communication, personal attack kind of stuff that basically had my poor BIL caught unaware while several of his younger siblings tried to put him in the middle of a (imaginary) conflict and when he didn't agree with them, they went sort of nuclear (an attempt at mass-shaming via email; they don't do facebook or I'm sure that's where it would have taken place). The decision, in light of all this, was for my sister and BIL to cut contact with them. They had little idea of the vitriol that was brewing behind the scenes, but they've started to remember recent incidences where they were given the back seat or left hanging. I know all the players, as do many members of my family and even extended family, so we circled the wagons around my BIL and let him he is loved and valued by us. They are sad, angry and heartbroken, given how much they cared about these siblings who attacked them.


As for what's normal between cousins, I am super lucky that I have cousins that are like brothers and sisters to me. We seem to have this unspoken bond that when our parents are gone (and I love all my aunts & uncles), we are the ones left to carry the torch of the past and enjoy life as long as we can together. None of us is perfect and there certainly have been conflicts in our larger extended family but everyone seems to be 'growing up' as the years pass and I see relationships improving where there were disagreements. My dad treats my mom's kin as his own (she has the bigger family) and even my dad's mom knew my mother's large family. They are just loving people and the more I understand about what kind of dysfunctionality there is in the world, the more fortunate I feel.


It sounds like you know control and shunning when it happens. I think you should do what is necessary to protect yourself and your family. If that means cutting off contact with toxic people and their behaviors, then so be it. If there is nothing to be salvaged or if it's a one-sided attempt by you to repair damage, it sounds pretty futile. Would you ever fully trust these people given their behavior? I hear it can be very liberating to let go, feel the loss and move on. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Best of luck in all of this.

    • gibasgirl, kookacola and ollie2013 like this

I have given it some thought since I wrote this blog.  I decided to not do anthing about this right now because there is a death in the family and everyone's emptions are running very high and feelings are fragile.  I'm going to take some time after the dust settles and then decide what I plan do about this.  I didn't speak to my mother once for 3 years and I really was happy.  I've wanted and hoped for many, many years that she'd form a special or at least a friendly

y bond and that hasn't happened and I doubt it ever will.  There's so much blood between myself and my sister and mother.  As for my cousins, I'm also realizing that they are mean spirited people and are throwing their power around to an extent too.  Also, will take some time and make a decision after I"m not so emotional.  It's best not to make rash decisions emotionally when things are fresh.  I don't want to do something that I'll regret down the road. 

    • gibasgirl and ollie2013 like this
Jun 19 2015 11:39 AM

One thing at a time seems like a good plan. I'm sorry that people you would expect to be close to you either cannot be or are intentionally hurting you. It's like pain on top of pain. And again, I'm so sorry for the loss of your aunt.

    • gibasgirl, kookacola and ollie2013 like this

I really hope things work out for you kookacola... family dynamics are so difficult and you dont need the added stress or aggravation. I think you are making a smart move by letting things go for now as nothing good will result when people are emotional and fragile


we dont speak to my husbands side and it is really tough on him and i hope one day that may change.


Sending hugs and positive thoughts your way!

    • gibasgirl and kookacola like this

Family dynamics ARE tough.  And some cousin relationships are really close while others are farther apart.


I wish we had a big family - we have a very small one.  We had a recent death too, and it's brought us to the point where the next generation up is fighting.  It's crazy, and I'm hearing things I don't want to know.


Some of these conversations happen in front of my kids. I hate that, and I always let my family know when the conversation is inappropriate.


Big hugs to you.  Sometimes people are UNHAPPY people and they spread this on you.  I think your instinct for minimal engagement with some may be the right one.

    • ladylazarus and kookacola like this

Thank you all for your responses, I did go to the funeral lst week and I was glad I went.  It was hard for dd though to meet all these people she didn't know but I did.  She'll likely never see most of them again.  As for my family, my mom hardly saida thing to me the day of the funeral and hasn't contacted me since.  My sister has been calling me a "B" to my face and behind my back and I'm sick of that.  I still haven't made up my mind about what I'll do with my family but it's been a relief since I've been home from te funeral that I won't see them again.  I was glad that I went to the funeral though, no regrets there. 

While it's nice to grow up with extended family, a bad extended family can be worse than no extended family. So don't force yourself to tolerate the intolerable for your dd's sake.


When I was 10 months old, my parents found out my paternal uncle was a child molester and told the police. The fallout from that ended up with my parents basically being disowned on both sides as my paternal grandmother hated that my father told the police what 'her baby' was doing, and my mother realized she'd been a victim of abuse as well and cut off her father. It was really messy and painful for both parents, and it left me growing up with no extended family.


And although the lack of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc was lonely, honestly, having had contact with an abusive grandfather or uncle would have done far more damage to me. Even the ones who weren't overtly abusive like my paternal aunt and grandmother were enablers, and would not have kept me safe or been sympathetic if I got hurt.


The one thing I wish is that my father had reached out to his extended family earlier, since it turns out they have none of the issues his family of origin had. My great-aunts could have been grandmothers to me all this time, but he was afraid of rejection so he didn't reach out.


So my advice is to take a good hard look at your family members, and figure out which ones you would rather you and your dd have no contact with, which ones will not respect your boundaries about contact, and if there's any family left over, focus on them. And if not, don't worry - better she grow up without extended family than have contact with a dysfunctional family.

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