klimkm-can you explain?

bnicebkindMarch 24, 2007

You spoke of doing a time out with various relatives. I am curious how you do this? If they call...do you call them back, or pick up when you know it is them? Obviously they realize something is going on, if they are correcting their behavior, with you not ever having to say anything to them. What do you say if they ask you if something is wrong? Can you detail what they are doing that would make you respond like this, and then what steps you take to make a point so that they actually correct their behavior. Do they treat you with more respect now? Do you treat them differently when you see them (say it is a holiday and you have to see them, but for you , they are in time out). How do you handle this? Do you still go to Thanksgiving where you will be with the person who has treated you poorly?

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Yes - I do call them but only like on holidays and their birthdays. And if they call me I return their calls. But don't give them any information that could be potentially volatile. If they have inappropriate comments about your lifestyle or ways of doing things, don't bring up certain subjects. Such as issues that you have had in the past with them. Don't even go there.

The problem is - a lot of my relatives are communicationally challenged - if you will... so the only time I would hear from them if I called them. After 4-6 calls or so and I would not get a return call. Guess what - let them call me. I am a full time working mom, I don't have time to deal with head games and nonsense. My #1 job is raising my kids now, not dealing with other people's issues and worrying about grown adults who should know better and their problems. Always works - after about 3 months of not hearing from me - they call. Then we can resume a normalcy again - once they start showing some common consideration. Which is all we ask.

If you have to invite them over for a holiday - invite them - via a note if you really don't want to talk to them or an e-mail. Just try and avoid the volatile subjects. And if they start to get out of line, you will just have to let them know in a firm manner what is unacceptable.

I have a member of DHs family that is what we suspect borderline personality disorder. You never know what she is going to be like, happy and manic, or mean and snotty. After years of putting up with the ups and downs - we are through. And only see her on holidays (because of her kids). She has been miraculously "well-behaved" if you will - so she must have figured it out. But DH does not speak to her at all - which I think is a little harsh and I would not recommend that tactic at all. She was on meds and quit.

You can also ease into further contact once you think things are starting to go well enough to start over. Just limit your contacts to an hour or two at a time. Never commit to a whole day with a relative who pushes your buttons until you feel you can handle it.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 4:56PM
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I love the family time-out. I do it too - I just never called it that. I've had to completely remove family members from my life in order to have calm normalcy. I too have a manic sister, and yes I fear her. So I protect myself by not spending time with her. And it's been great. I also have a very nosy, manipulative and confrontational cousin. Guess what? Two years without her and it's bliss. I can rest my shield at last. I wouldn't put up with it from strangers and I won't put up with it from family members. I surround myself with positive and like-minded people. As for seeing those relatives at gatherings - smile, say hello and move on. They get it.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 9:59PM
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I should mention that I have many substance abusers in my family. I learned at an early age what is normal acceptable behavior and what was not (which was demonstrated to us).

And there are the family gossips - you don't dare tell them anything unless you want it broadcast around the world. I don't fill them in on much - learned my lesson. They are on a "need to know" basis - those nosybodies.

Your first responsibility is your immediate family (mainly kids). and when your relationships with other members of your family start to affect that - it is not good.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 5:15PM
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I do not understand why people think it is OK to behave poorly with family, when they would not dream of behaving that way towards friends or even strangers. They create a lot of needless problems. Why?

They often go to a lot of effort to make others think well of them, and their true self is exposed only towards those in the family.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:03AM
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Because they think their family will never leave them, and they take them for granted, thus the reason the "time away" treatment works sometimes. It makes them appreciate you more if you aren't around as much as you used to be, so they won't take you for granted as much. You cannot make yourself an "enabler" of the bad behavior. (this is from dealing with alcoholics)

Most normal people you have to do it once. They just don't realize what they are doing is hurtful and they figure it out.

With some people it is a regular thing that you have to go through constantly. And it gets OLD having to do this. These are grown adults that just don't have the "considerate" gene. and sometimes they are just incapable of taking responsibility for how their actions affect other people.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:39AM
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klimkm writes: "Always works - after about 3 months of not hearing from me - they call. Then we can resume a normalcy again - once they start showing some common consideration. Which is all we ask"

I think your statement is an oxymoron. I don't think there is anything even remotely resembling normal about your situation.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 3:22PM
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I hope you aren't being snotty labmomma.

Just hoping to help someone out whose family is also may be a little difficult. I think a lot of families have hard to deal with individuals to deal with, whatever their issues may be... excessive control freaks, borderline personality disorders, alcoholics, whatever...

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 5:23PM
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klimkm -
GREAT to read your posts. Especially the one of 3/26/07. I resonate quite a bit with it. My husband and I are in the very difficult position of needing to take a "time out" from his parents, as well. Although my MIL will probably never be officially evaluated, it's become evident from a number of reputable sources that she has both Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorders. Your words about needing to let the individual know, in a firm way, what's unacceptable are spot on! But it's the tedious, repetative, continual need to state and re-state our boundaries that just gets so exhausting. No matter how clear we are ("We love YOU, but we don't want to be around you if you're going to do X,Y & Z"), she cannot take any kind of responsibility for her actions and finds ways to make us the bad guys.

We fear for our children - her crazymaking (screaming, name-calling, hysterical stuff) has already hurt one of them deeply - which is what drives us to keep re-stating the boundaries, even if it means we don't talk for awhile and are made out to be the evil, heartless children who are holding her grandchildren hostage when she talks to others.

Great words, and encouraging to me in this season of our family life. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 1:10AM
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When your children get old enough to understand, you will have to explain all this to them so they won't have a complex! You are not alone in dealing with your problem family.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 9:47AM
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I took a hiatus from my younger sister because we are sooo different and I just needed the space, but she says I made her feel expendable, which was not my intent............so sometimes this taking a break from a family member can backfire. What was good for me was most definitely not good for her.............

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 7:58AM
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The reason I always did it in the past was that I would take a cool off period so I wouldn't end up saying something in the heat of the moment that I would regret later on. When they make you REALLY mad by doing something very inconsiderate.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 11:01AM
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halfdecaf-Unfortunetely,i can relate to your situation.My mil is also both Borderline and Narcissistic.Its really tough on the kids because all they see is their "sweet,caring grandma" and don't even realize how she "uses them" to try to get us to agree with her.It has been a hard hard battle.We've even had to deal with the courts in order to get her to "back off".But fortunetely,our persistence has payed off.She knows we will not put up with her negativity and if it begins to affect the children we will stop all contact again.Just like in your case,the eldest has been affected terribly because of her behaviors and unfortunetely has become her clone.He has picked up all of her bad habits-gossiping,lying,manipulating,playing the victim..you name it.As you can imagine he is almost impossible to be around and as a result is no longer living with us.Ofcourse this is her favorite grandson and attributes all of his behavior problems to his parents.(Even though she was basically his primary caregiver and raised him from the time he was a newborn)The bottom line is,sometimes you need to disengage from these kind of people (relatives or not) in order to maintain some sanity.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 11:52AM
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For those with Borderline Personality disorders (or with behaviors that fit in some of the categories): please check out website bcdcentral and books like 'Stop Walking on Eggshells'. BTDT - I have been no-contact with my sister for about four years. She still hasn't 100% taken responsilibity for her actions, and until I see that, we don't have a relationship. Lest you think that harsh, the last few words between us were 'Sis, you told me you would never hurt my kids.' Her answer: 'You are making me do this' (she was undermining me and telling my then 10YO son something I had asked her not to). The emotional and physical safety of my kids come first.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 3:27PM
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I am bumping this up for another post.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 9:59AM
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Never forget that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 2:43PM
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