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Mama_Cakes's avatar

My family has been unsupportive in the last while. In fact, at times, they do a mighty fine job of bringing me down. How can I separate myself emotionally for the next while?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (9320 points ) February 20th, 2012

How do I get the strength to distance myself and take care of me? Distance myself from my whole family.

I need to focus on my life/goals.

Help talk me through this..

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19 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

I have to ask this question…..why? What has happened that has caused this downward trend of your parents against you?

tranquilsea's avatar

When my family gets this way I become perpetually busy for while.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Take a breath. You can do this.

Do not concern yourself with what others think of you. Do not allow your mind to dwell on thoughts like ”They’ll think I’m selfish if I tell them, No” or ”Right now I have to focus my full attention on my studies.”

Knowing you have ADD, adds yet another layer to this @Mama_Cakes. You quite literally cannot handle distractions. You need your days to adhere to a routine to ensure you stick to your path to achieve personal success.

The best way that I know to achieve this with family is to set limits. Here are the limits I have set in the past or that we currently have set with family:

-I will call you. Please do not call me between the hours of ____ to _____. That time is dedicated to studying.
-If you must email or text, please keep it polite. I cannot handle any added stress at this time.
-I am open to visiting you at an outside location (a coffee shop or bookstore) on Sundays only.
-Weekdays are mine. Weekend days between ____ & _____ I am open to making plans.

I have called family to set these limits, and I have emailed those people that I knew would need to read the limits in writing.

This is only as difficult as you make it. If you really can’t handle a phone call from a family member or a pop-in visit, you need to be explicit. Do not leave anything open for their interpretation.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@SpatzieLover and @tranquilsea, was it hard to distance yourself (emotionally-speaking)?

tinyfaery's avatar

This might be trite, but just do it. Maybe send them all a letter saying you’ll contact them when you are ready. Don’t answer their calls/emails/texts/whatever. But you have to stick to it.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@john65pennington If you know anything about me from Fluther, you know that I lost my Mom to cancer. Anyhow, the details of what happened are not important.

SpatzieLover's avatar

At first, yes @Mama_Cakes, it was difficult. Once I realized I was setting myself up for success, no. I needed to protect myself. Like you, I tend to be a high empathy person. I cannot block out other people’s problems, issues…well I just can’t not feel for others.

Learning this about myself was an important step. Applying it was fundamental to my emotional well-being.

With limits set, my life has a lot less unexpected emotional energy expenditure.

Does this make sense?

@tinyfaery I don’t think it’s trite if done politely. I just put the reasons for it onto myself. “I need to do this for me” and yes, you do have to stick to it. I screen all calls. And don’t answer anything until either really late at night, or on the weekends during the times I’ve given as “open”.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Very helpful. Thanks.

tinyfaery's avatar

Mama Cakes knows I only have her best interests at heart.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

She does.

tranquilsea's avatar

It was, at first. Especially because there are many things that I like/love about my family. But when the bad starts to outweigh the good…then I need some distance. I’ve not distanced myself forever. I often framed it in terms of what I need right now without telling them it was about them.

john65pennington's avatar

Mama Cakes, no, I did not know about your mother and I am sorry.

Just trying to get the facts, maam, in order to give a decent answer.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I wish I had a better answer, but for me, it took moving to the other side of the world to distance myself from my family. They are out of sight and out of mind.

Seriously, I can imagine having to be nearby and still remain remote. I like the idea of sending letters or notes informing them that you’re going to take a vacation from interaction and then not answering the phone or returning emails and such. It seems like a good way to go about it. It’s direct, and it puts the other parties on notice that their behavior is not acceptable.

john65pennington's avatar

One last thought. If ever you get into serious trouble, who will you call first?

Your parents or family members. They are the only people you can truly trust.

filmfann's avatar

If you are determined to do this, distance them, but don’t shut them completely out of your life.
Even if they disagree with your choices, they love you, and down deep just want you to be happy.

creative1's avatar

Maybe just a little vacation is needed, still chat from time to time on the phone or text but do it on your terms. I wouldn’t just disappear though, my thoughts on family are that they are the only ones you can truly count on in this world. You might just need some time to miss your family and see it from a different prospective. I know by every winter that I look forward to my mom and step-father going to Florida for a few months but I also find I miss them while they are gone and when they get back its like our relationship is closer and refreshed.

mallei's avatar

I suggest throwing yourself into a college course or work on a local play production or volunteer your time in some cause in which you are truly interested. Just remove yourself from the “same old” and things will change! Good luck to you.

augustlan's avatar

Be prepared for at least some of them to constantly push the limits you set. Screening calls is a huge help in ignoring that behavior. Good luck!

King_Pariah's avatar

As several people pointed out above, throwing yourself into something that’ll keep you busy is a great way to avoid having to deal with them as your mind is (nigh) totally focused on the task at hand and cannot wander onto things such as family. Also, you do need to establish you wish for no contact though it’d be better if you could compromise and say between (day/hour) to (day/hour) they shouldn’t contact you as it is detrimental to your studies or whatnot. Saying that you want no contact at all from them until you contact them I have found brings about a tendency for family to call more though that may be just my family.

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