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KNOWITALL's avatar

How important are family relations to you?

Asked by KNOWITALL (15285points) May 30th, 2014

We all have a bad in-law or offensive family member at some point in life.

If the rest of the family wanted a reconciliation, would you eat crow and make it happen (even if it weren’t true) for the family peace or would you stand your ground and be ‘right’?

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24 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Is there some sort of middle ground, where there can be grown-up discussion and clearing of the air? I don’t like either the “eating crow” or “being right” concepts. If one side is entrenched in one position, then the other side is entrenched in the other. Everyone ends up still resentful, don’t they?

Anyone in the family detached and grown-up enough to be a neutral mediator?

Winter_Pariah's avatar

Family relations in and of themselves are unimportant to me. Then again, I don’t see much of my biological family as family, there’s just too much bad blood and when I’ve tried to reconcile in the past – with say, my mother – it goes nowhere fast and when she has tried to reconcile, it has been insincere. Both my mom and dad sides of the family are racist out the cahoots and see their marriage as sacrilege, and my brothers and me as “half-breeds” or “mutts.” Some of my cousins on my Dad’s side are pretty cool though and I get along with them relatively well.

In the end, I see family as those people you hold dear, not the people who raised you, so I consider my friends to be family.

Perhaps I am the ungrateful snot who won’t let reconciliation happen nor let family relations be rebuilt. Frankly, I no longer care.

majorrich's avatar

As a child, we moved a lot so family was all the friends and the only constant I had. As a result, I am very motivated to keeping family all together even to the point of eating roadkill if I have to. I also hold friendships as closely as family so have fewer friends, but they are very close and dear to me.

cazzie's avatar

I’m having a difficult time right now because I really adore my (soon to be ex) mother in law and she wants to be included in my life and what is going on, but I don’t feel I can share with her because of the obvious split loyalties. I was with her this past weekend and she brought up how difficult things have been and I lost track of how many times he told me, ‘I tried to warn you.’ ‘I told you not to marry him.’ ‘He was a difficult son, I can’t imagine how difficult a husband he was. I tried to warn you.’ Yeah…. pretty awful. Not going back there for an over night stay. Ever.

muppetish's avatar

My father had a strained relationship (to say the least) with my grandfather. I never met him, and he was never supposed to know that I exist. This decision strained my father’s relationship with some of his siblings who believed that family always has to stick together. As a result, I haven’t seen some members of my family in well over a decade.

I do not believe in forced reconciliation. I do not think that such a thing would bring peace to my father who was forced to become a father to his siblings when his dad abandoned them. I do not think it would bring peace to my mother who was dragged through the coals by my father’s sister as though she were a monster. I do not think it would bring peace to me when my significant other’s parents kicked me out of their house with a giant “fuck you” after years of manipulation and emotional abuse.

It’s not just about being “right”. It’s about keeping toxicity out of our lives.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gailcalled My aunt tried to talk to him the other day and he refused to admit any culpability on his part whatsoever. The family agrees with me and have all had problems with this particular household but they are unwilling to cut ties because of ‘family’ and he’s the youngest of my mom’s siblings and thus used to getting his way.

I want to be okay with each other but it’s hard when he’s being self-righteous.

KNOWITALL's avatar

In a nutshell, my uncle married a woman who shows no respect or even a genuine liking for any of our family. She started problems with several people in the family, to the point that everyone avoids them BUT they have a child who carries the family name so everyone tries to be cool and not call them out so they can know the kid.

Even though my uncle is who he is, I do love him, I’m just not sure that his choice in life partners is conducive to us being friends no matter how many times I bite my tongue. I don’t know what to do.

gailcalled's avatar

Oh, boy. I have nothing sensible to add. How old is the child?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gailcalled He’s 11 yrs old now and mostly knows only his mother’s family with the exception of my mother. She’s pretty much the only person in our family allowed to take him to the movies or anything. If you don’t tow the line or keep your mouth shut, you are not on the approved list for their child. It feels like emotional hostage-taking tbh.

Judi's avatar

I’m trying like crazy to figure out how to provide a way for my daughter in law to save face after the awful things she said to me.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Birth relationships don’t mean much to me. The relationships that do matter are the ones I’ve willingly forged with others. Frankly most of my relatives can drown for all I care.

Seek's avatar

People like that? Fuck ‘em.

Seriously. It’s not worth it. It’s your life. Surround yourself with people who love you, and forget the rest. It’s not worth your sanity to be forced to be around people that make you upset. If other people want to be upset about it, that’s their choice and you’re not responsible for them.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek I think you may be right, I guess I thought I’d give it one more shot though. I was even chastised for singing Black Betty with the kid because it’s racist. I secretly hope that suppressed little boy gives them hell as he grows up…lol

Darth_Algar's avatar

‘Black Betty’ is racist? It’s an old military cadence (“Black Betty” is a rifle, hence the “bam-a-lam” part) made popular as a song by Leadbelly.

Seek's avatar

You can’t count on idiots to be logical, or to think through their chest-clutched responses.

Judi's avatar

@Darth_Algar for some reason my husband has been singing that a lot lately but he can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

Berserker's avatar

To me family is just a word. Some family members are awesome, others not, the same stands for in laws. What is important to me is the friendship that would develop, or the amicable acquaintanceship.
Otherwise, of course I will remain polite, unless they seek to purposely make my life miserable. This goes right along anyone I deal with, family or otherwise.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Symbeline Remaining polite is important to me, and unfortunately when I tried to explain that being close and being polite are two different things, it really hit the fan and got ugly. I’m not sure that I can be honest with them and still be friends, and most of my family feels the same way, so they don’t risk it and just are superficially polite.

People don’t always understand the fundamentals, which is his religion, because of their rigid beliefs. Anyway, thanks for the opinions, I guess I’ll see what he says he needs from me and if it’s too much, we’ll go back to not speaking. It’s sad though because we grew up singing the BeeGee’s together and he really was a good role model for half my life.

Berserker's avatar

@KNOWITALL Right. What I have posted, so far, works for me. But I don’t have any in laws or anything. I did before; I got along with them all. But I will admit, keeping my circle very small makes it perhaps easier for me than you.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Symbeline They are my only immediate family here with my mom and I (and my in-laws), other than them it’s just cousins, so when mom got cancer diagnosed, perhaps I expected too much.

Berserker's avatar

Could be…but understandable. Live and learn, I suppose. :/

syz's avatar

Our family is not close. I see my aunts and uncles about once a year, even though they are only 1–3 hours away. I have never met my cousins’ kids. My sister and her family live in town, and I see them every few months.

No particular reason, no drama. We just aren’t close.

Mimishu1995's avatar

With my parents, brother, grandparents and some respectable brothers and sisters of mom: important enough for me to blast the heads of anyone who touch them and sell my soul if I can resurrect them again.

With other people: important enough for me to forget in one night if I could.

JLeslie's avatar

Family is important to me for a few reasons. One, they are the people who usually are there for you when things suck. It doesn’t mean your whole extended family will be there to help, or able to help, but if you hit a really bad bump in your life, usually family will take you in, or float you the loan, or whatever temporary measure you need to get you through. That is less true with friends in my opinion, or friends will have a shorter time span they will inconvenience themselves for you. Friends can be fantastic at giving emotional support, but I think the real nitty gritty family is who feels obligated to make sure you are not out on the street, or not losing everything.

Family can give you unconditional love. I definitely got this from my parents, my aunt, I had it with my grandmother before she died. A sibling is the longest relatinship you have in your life, barring a sib dying unexpectadly young. They know what it was like to be a kid in your family, and they know you well. Just the length of the relationship is important I think. But, some sibs don’t get along, they can be very different people. With inlaws it’s more tricky. It can be great, or it can be not so great.

The situation you describe doesn’t really have to do with what I talk about in my first paragraph though, because that is separate type of issue. I usually would not dig my heals in to be right to the point that you can feel the tension in the air. Once I decide the person is a pain in the ass, which would come after me really trying to be social and nice to them to warm them up, I would eventually decide they don’t deserve my caring and concern, and they would become less important and I would lose trust in them. At that point I am free to smile and say hello, and that’s it, and they stop getting to me so to speak. As long as we stay angry they have power over us. Being indifferent they hold zero control.

@Judi I like your answer about saving face. I do similar things, try to release someone from the crap they put out there. My husband doesn’t really understand it. His family is horrible about clearing the air though, and they love thinking someone else did something awful. He isn’t like them in that way, he is usually very forgiving and they are not, but he doesn’t to help someone else be comfortable again. I don’t think I explained it well.

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