Social Question

jazmina88's avatar

Do you think it is acceptable for family not to speak to each other?

Asked by jazmina88 (11595 points ) December 4th, 2013

My family has endured a ton of deaths and the women are definitely in charge around here. Now, a great niece of mine, won’t speak to her father and most recently, my eldest sister is not speaking to me. She is 65, or something like that. I wrote her a letter about some of her skeletons that turned up. I kept it in a couple of years and she was not approachable, even, beyond reproach. Thanksgiving, she and her husband did not speak to me. I was business as usual, with a load off my heart. I think it is horrible for family not to communicate. I know we can’t choose them. But I believe we should all try to tolerate and communicate. There has been no abuse to my great niece, that is the only reason I will think of for refusing your kin, even though the mental abuse is DEEP in my family. What do you think?

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12 Answers

Seelix's avatar

I think it sucks, and that it would be nice if family could always keep in contact and get along, but there are some people in this world that you’re just not gonna get along with. And some of those people might be family members.

My dad’s sister acted pretty reprehensibly during their mother’s last days (I’m not going to go into detail, but suffice it to say that she crossed some lines), and I have no problem with never speaking to her again. It’s “silent treatment” on both sides, so we’re all pretty fine with it. I don’t need to poison my life with toxic people, whether or not I share genes with them.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it is horrible. In extreme cases I understand it; like in physical or sexual abuse situations.

Some families it is a way of life though. They do silent treatments, cut-offs, hold onto grudges and anger, never communicate well and never clear the air. Sometimes the person cutting off is just too anxious, too freaked out to deal with any sort of discussion or confrontation, but I usually think that if they did talk things through they would feel much better in many parts of their life. Although, I am empathetic to their emotions. Those people usually have all sorts of “shoulds” about how people should behave and when family members don’t act accordingly they get easily dissappointed and offended and angry.

hearkat's avatar

I don’t see why people hold those who share DNA to a different standard than those who do not. If you don’t get along with someone, why try to force a relationship? If someone has abused or disrespected you, why should you feel obligated to be nice to them anyway? Blood is not thicker than water – we do not get to pick our relatives. Life is too short to deal with drama caused by these expectations.

Leanne1986's avatar

It depends on their reasons. You don’t say why your great niece won’t speak to her father but obviously in her mind, whatever he did was unacceptable to her. Mental abuse is damaging and if I felt I was being mentally abused by someone I would probably want to cut all ties with them too. This isn’t a cut and dry situation as far as I am concerned. As for you and your sister, I guess it depends on what you wrote in the letter and why you wrote it.

On a more personal note, I will do all I can to avoid talking to my uncle. He’s a selfish man who treats my Grandmother (his mother) like shit. I have no respect for him so I would rather not communicate with him.

mambo's avatar

As long as the reasons aren’t petty, I’d be inclined to say yes. I no longer speak to my mother and my life has gotten better. Sometimes you just have to cut a person out to make any progress.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Like @Leanne1986, it depends on the reason.

I don’t speak to my uncle because he and his wife for a very good reason, but I message him on fb on occasion to tell him I love him and if he needs me I’ll be there. It’s unfortunate because we were super close most of my life and I miss him a lot. Some thing’s are unforgiveable though and I’m not subjecting myself to toxic people, family or not.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Well, if I don’t like the topic, then don’t expect much talk from me.

I have very little patience for gossipers, martyrs or accusers. But if you need help with something, then let’s git er’ done!

Seek's avatar

I’m with @hearkat.

Why does the accident of your birth determine who you must spend time with?

I can’t stand most of my family members, most of the time. I can handle my brother in small doses, well spaced. That’s it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jazmina88 Also, think about it this way, are you allowed to treat your family worse than coworkers or friends? It appears that most of us are in agreement in that shared dna doesn’t give you a free pass on your behavior.

livelaughlove21's avatar

What @hearkat and @Seek_Kolinahr said.

If I genuinely don’t like someone, I’m not going to speak to them unless I absolutely have to. Why should I force myself to interact with someone I dislike solely because they just happen to be related to me?

If your niece doesn’t want to speak to her father due to mental abuse, I say good for her. The only “awful” thing about it is that the abuse took place, not the result of that abuse. I’d never maintain ties with an abusive family. Why the hell would I?

LornaLove's avatar

I wouldn’t use the word ‘do not speak to each other’. That to me is a game playing thing. Like a power struggle. I have not had contact with a brother for 30 years. Simply because he is abusive and toxic. My son is showing similar behavior and I do talk to him but I certainly avoid him as best I can. I send him money each week and try to advise him. (He is 31). I am not sure about disowning one’s kids. It is not the same to me as disowning a uncle or a brother or a mother for example. Perhaps it is? I really don’t know. What I do know is I am tired of abuse.

serenityNOW's avatar

Acceptable: yes. Heartbreaking: absolutely. I had one conversation with my brother in the past six-months. I recently read a copy of a book I gave him for hanukkah last year. It was good. Did he read it? Nope. He returned it to the book store. Ha! It’s sad, though, but we each have problems: I choose to work through mine; he choose’s not. There’s a Bob Dylan line:
Little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously
He brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously.

That’s a fair summation of my brother. I could rail on and on, but there’s something seriously wrong with that kid…

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