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meagan's avatar

What happens to people that don't relate to their relatives?

Asked by meagan (4650points) July 11th, 2010

I’ve always thought about what happens to people that don’t get along with their family. I’m not talking about teenage hormones “I hate you!” I’m talking about different people that have nothing in common, don’t respect one another, etc.

What happens? Do they move away from each other and not keep in touch?

My family is extremely dysfunctional, and saying that I can’t stand my mother is an understatement. Shes always made me the adult in our relationship which leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

When you have legitimate reason to not want to see these people anymore, what would you do? Or what have you done, for experienced flutherites.

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20 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I had a similar problem with my mother. When it came to a head, i did not speak with her or see her for a year.

I think if someone is being toxic, then not seeing them is a legitimate response.

Lightlyseared's avatar

They don’t have to buy as many birthday cards and Christmas presents.

SmashTheState's avatar

They become sane, intelligent individuals who no longer feel it’s necessary to pretend they have an emotional link to someone who, through accident of birth, happens to share most of a genome with them.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

There are two basic “family of nativity” structures:
tribal- family members live near each other, extended contact and socialization within the family structure, usually centering around the “elders” of the family. Lots of expected face time with extended family.
nuclear- family consists of immediate family of parents and children. Interaction with extended family is limited due to distance, different lifestyles and interests on the part of the family. When children grow up, they move away from the parents and form their own nuclear family unit, and parents of origin maintain separate lives.

A third family structure is a family of choice where individuals create a family structure comprised of close friendships that function in the role normally filled by blood relatives.

One is not better than the other. Patterns of family depend in part on ethnicity and experience; the culture in which you were raised determines how you define family. While tribal families often appear as the ideal, in reality, there is a tendency for family members to not respect boundaries between each other, and get into everyone’s business. Likewise, the elders of a family have an expectation of deference and respect by virtue of being the oldest.

tranquilsea's avatar

I’ve always tried to talk to the members of my family who are problematic for me. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. The trickiest person was my mother. We had had a complicated relationship my whole life and I couldn’t really talk to her about anything important, although we had many interests in common. When things got really bad with what she was doing I distanced myself for 18 months. That was really hard to do and I wish there was something else that could have been done. I haven’t spoken to my older sister now for over a year because I can’t handle what comes out of her mouth.

The thought of long and drawn out distances horrify me. Family is family. I try my hardest to make things work. But in saying that there are times when you just need to strike out on your own. My hubby and I moved 1000km away from family 10 years ago. Primarily to get away from the bad apples in his family. Things became much easier to deal with in the ensuing years. We were able to grow into who we wanted to be instead of constantly defending ourselves.

Seek's avatar

I couldn’t say it any better than @SmashTheState

There isn’t much of a point in wasting your life being miserable around people with whom you hold no mutual respect.

MaryW's avatar

If you are financially and emotionally able to leave the vicinity then do so. Carefully read the responses here as they are really good and varied enough that you may “see” some options.

tinyfaery's avatar

We find and/or create our own families.

Austinlad's avatar

Blood may be thicker than water, but who, besides vampires, say we have to drink it?

Seaofclouds's avatar

I agree with @SmashTheState. I have a family member that I no longer speak to. We didn’t speak for years because of things that happened when I was growing up. I decided to forgive those things and move on. In that process, I apologized to the family member and attempted to rebuild a relationship. It worked for a few months, but then the family member was back to their old self and I decided I had enough trying. I haven’t spoken to them in months and have no desire to.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I have a family member that is a drain on my family. If I could put a phone block on his number I would.

BoBo1946's avatar

they are lucky!

lynfromnm's avatar

There is certainly no obligation to continue a relationship – familial or not – that has continually disgusted you or hurt you. I think we all have family members who we’d rather not deal with. One thing I have done with said family members (fortunately they aren’t local) is give them just an email address for me – no phone number or physical address, so that I can choose when to deal with them. Initially it meant having to change my phone number, always a hassle, but it was worth the effort.

The anthropological reason for a family unit is survival. If your blood family isn’t surviving, it needs to change.

stardust's avatar

I realised that because I’m realted to a person, it doesn’t mean I’m obliged to have a relationship. I’ve had to walk away from some of my immediate family. Hard, but worthwhile. Contact has ceases in those cases, but deep down, I wish them the best. I just don’t want any toxic relationships in my life.

eyeDani's avatar

I’ve watched that happen with people. My mom just deals with my grandma.

perspicacious's avatar

Generally little to no contact. Blood doesn’t make you like someone. I have a couple of those.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

During my first decade of adulthood I was on a mission to be a good family participant and ended up really disappointed and hurt so I’ve since taken the stance that family isn’t always the closest to you, the safest or most trustworthy. I no longer pine away for “that family feeling” as I once did because I’ve made my own family along the way of friends and even some of their family members. People like me get along just fine, we don’t stress on what doesn’t work in the stubborn belief that it should and so with enough grinding away, it will.

josie's avatar

My parents are dead. I suppose we had our moments, but I wish they were still here.

Ludy's avatar

I have tried to start a new one, but it seems I can’t get away from the first one, they always find me somehow!!!

Bellatrix's avatar

They just get on with life and create their own family. Well that’s what I have done.

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