When to cut the ties

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Tanya M, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member


    This article has some great stuff. While I have been detached from my Difficult Child for some time; I have minimal contact, I still find it helpful to read articles like this. It helps to confirm I have made the right choice and to also always be on guard when dealing with my Difficult Child as there are times when he can be so nice but that can mask true behavior.

    Here's a little snippet from the article:
    It's OK to Say Goodbye When:
    • The relationship is physically or mentally abusive. Don't downplay the effects of mental abuse, especially long-term. It may take counseling to realize you've been abused.
    • It causes enough stress that it effects important aspects/areas of your life, like work or home life.
    • You find yourself spending a lot of time thinking about the sour relationship and losing sleep over it. Don't underestimate how lack of sleep and stress effect your health.
    • The relationship is one-sided when there is no valid reason why there can't be effort from the other person.
    • The relationship is only about borrowing money.
    • The family member is taking you down with them or doing favors or bailing them out of trouble. Don't get involved in risky business and legal trouble, even if they are family.
    • The person is using gossip, manipulation, etc to control you and/or other family members against you.
    • The only contact with them is negative. They only call to bring you down and put you down too.
    • There are negative consequences every time this family member doesn't get what they want from you.
    • They play childish games; silent treatment, blame games- there is no talking to them, their way or no way.
    • Most people know intuitively when it's time to cut ties.
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  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It is very good to read these kinds of words. I found a chance to remember how it really is. It is a strange thing that I will forget or disbelieve certain things have been done with intent.

    We can only see from our own perspective. But if we are going to see from our eyes that are wary and wise, we have to remember that not everyone believes as we do.

    Thank you, Tanya.

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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Cutting ties with anyone in "family" is so hard because we are literally brainwashed into not doing it, no matter how we are abused by them. It took me quite a while to realize that, in my case, it's ok. I did feel my family-of-origin was malicious. Had no trouble believing that AT ALL. I just had trouble not wanting them to love me and not understanding that I could not make them love me. So I hung on too long.

    I'm glad I learned.
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  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks Tanya, always good to remember.......
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  5. Lioness

    Lioness Lioness

    I'm still hanging in there hoping & praying that my daughter will one day love me like I need. I got cut off from my own mother 25 years ago and I was better off without her toxicity. My sister and I have a cold
    & superficial relationship because of our upbringing yet I still try with her, as she has no children & an old husband. My mother stopped speaking to her own parents for years & when they passed away she refused to attend the funerals. I don't want our family history to repeat itself. I feel compelled to keep trying.
  6. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Tanya.

    husband asked me to print this. We struggled with walking away for so long, even though difficult child and his relationship fit almost every single example.
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I have a similar dynamic happening. (Oh for heaven's sake, not with my kids. We are still battling out how to do this. Mostly, our son hates us openly and loves us in secret, and our daughter loves us openly and sort of hates us underneath. There are currents and undertows and all kinds of weirdnesses, but I love them enough to (and I suppose they must love me enough, too) to keep sort of touching base every so often and enjoying that we do. I am mostly horrified at them on the outside and so pleased and proud of and for them underneath. So like I said, our family is just this living mess and there seems to be nothing to be done about that.

    So, that is good.

    Good enough.

    With my mother and sister. The longer I am given time to see what I see, there in my sister's words or my mother's eyes, I am finding myself absolutely shocked at the depth and twisted intensity of the way they hate me.

    They hate me.

    And I never knew!

    Now that I have the support of this site, I am seeing my responsibility to those relationships very differently, indeed.

    Over time, now that I do not feel responsible for their loneliness or for the inappropriate things they do to one another or for the way they talk and think about one another behind everyone's back ~ man, I cannot believe the toxicity in every aspect of it. Even the good times were set ups for what was coming next. It is like they never stop planning, thinking, scheming.

    It is like a bucket of snakes.

    Once I could see it, it was that obvious. But before I could see it, I could only see myself as someone whose role was to smile through it, to make it all look right, to be okay for myself and for everyone else no matter how blatantly wrong every thing was, every single day.

    Now, I wish I had kicked them in the pants, instead.

    This is new.

    I don't usually stand in one place of judgment steadily enough that I envision blasting through family of origin members to get them out of my thoughts.

    But I am now.

    Stay close to the site, as our Seeking Strength posts to us, and you will come through this. There are so many of us here now that almost anything we need help clarifying can be asked and someone will have been through it. The site is safe and anonymous. I have been sifting through family of origin issues here for so long a time, and have been helped and encouraged and cherished until I can, finally, begin to see for myself.

    I am glad you are here with us.

    Admitting that we are not content with things as they are is a huge beginning.






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  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm still hanging in there hoping & praying that my daughter will one day love me like I need. I got cut off from my own mother 25 years ago and I was better off without her toxicity. My sister and I have a cold
    & superficial relationship because of our upbringing yet I still try with her, as she has no children & an old husband. My mother stopped speaking to her own parents for years & when they passed away she refused to attend the funerals. I don't want our family history to repeat itself. I feel compelled to keep trying.

    Billy, a lot of our family history repeated itself too as much as I tried to avoid it. Part of that, I believe, is genetics. If there is, say, borderline in our family-of-origin, there is not much we can do if we pass it on because borderlines cut people off, are emotionally unpredictable, hate very hard, and can be vindictive. In my case, it was best for me (and I wish I 'd done it earlier) to stop trying to fix Mom, Dad, Sis, Bro, our unit. I only talk to my Dad as he is 90 and I watch what I say lest it be passed along. I can't make us the Brady Bunch or even half a Brady Bunch. Their personalities are mean. I can't change that in them. I tried. It hurt me and they got a good laugh out of it, I'm sure. I'm glad they are gone.

    I did have one child take off. He was adopted later in life and had attachment disorder. That was much harder than finally letting my family of origin go, but with therapy I understood and did not blame myself and stopped trying to win him back. It was useless and hurtful and he knew where I was if he wanted me. It has been eight years. Therapists/psychologist and me both believe he has attachment problems and like a personality disorder, once they are adults with "iffy" attachment, they can put you out of their lives and never think about you again and there is nothing I can do to change it. Nor will I. I respect his right to go on without me. I do have four other adult kids who I am close to, so I think that helps. However, it still hit me hard to realize I can not make him who he is not. He thinks about me a certain way that nobody else does, and I can't stop it. He also has the influence of his wife who wants him to herself and his very obsessive religion. I can't try anymore. It did not work. My life is finally peaceful. You must find your path, in which you will have many forks, and decide which fork to take until you feel you have done your best and are at peace in your heart and soul. It is such a nice place to finally be.

    You can do it.
  9. Lioness

    Lioness Lioness

  10. Lioness

    Lioness Lioness

    I have strived all my life to create a family unit that I yearned for as a child. I feel like I have been asleep and ignorant for so long. I have never heard of Family of origin, till now. It seems inevitable that it will all end sadly. Yet I have good memories, such as last summer my husband and I hired a beautiful villa in Greece and invited all five of our kids to come and stay for a week. They paid for their own flights. We had a wonderful week with no flash points laughing, joking and getting closer. Even the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) eldest daughter enjoyed herself and smiled the whole time. I thought this would be a new start. The birth of my Grand daughter brought the family together and being the dreamer that I am I thought this would last. I know that my daughter is suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) now. You and books have educated me on this. There are moments when she is lovely to be around. If I crave this surely others in the family do too? Do you think it would work to sit everyone down and talk about the elephant in the room? Or possibly approach my daughter and ask her if she would like to go to family mediation with me? I am not the problem I know this, but I do want to fix this or get to a better place. It all depends on her mood, I know this. I also know that without appropriate help, she may never be ok and I will always be in the "bad" pile. I have not been contacting her, so nearly every morning she texts or calls me with trivial questions anything to engage me. I just give her minimal replies so as not to antagonise her. She probably wants something, so am expecting a call soon asking to help her with the baby. Which of course I will do. I don't want the next generation in my family i.e. My Grand daughter to have to suffer a fractured family, I want us to be united. I am not ready to give up yet. I know that you have all been down this road and are wiser than me, but I have learned to detach and this has assisted me greatly. I no longer make those phone calls that she ignores, only to hear her pick up the phone to her sister in the other room instead. She is contacting me now. Sometimes, if she texts I don't reply straight away, pathetic I know but at least I have some control now. I went to the Doctor today as I have a terrible case of conjunctivitis, chest infection and ear infection. The Doctor said I was run down and was I stressed? Duh?! I didn't even go there to be honest! So I look like the monster my daughter paints me to be today!! Ha, ha, ha x
  11. Lioness

    Lioness Lioness

    Thanks Cedar you have no idea how comforting to know that I am not alone in all this. Whats wrong with our families? I sometimes read back my posts and think I am pathetic, as I sound a little dreamy and clingy. But why don't others want to have a harmonious life together rather than drama upon drama? I can't understand it but I have a great deal to learn. Keep on teaching me . I thank you
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Billy63, borderlines, unlike some substance abusers who were normal before they started using drugs, do not do well being told there is something wrong with them and I would personally not try an intervention on a borderline. It's meaning will be misconstrued, used against you "you're trying to make everyone thing I'm crazy and it's YOU"...and a stay in a hospital does not help borderline personality disorder. It takes a real willingness and desire on the part of the borderline to want to change and years and years of therapy. There is NO NO NO fast fix and no fix at all if the borderline thinks she's fine and it's everyone else. Or if she thinks it's YOU she can get dangerous to you and you could lose all contact with granddaughter. Borderlines are liars so your Difficult Child could call CPS and say you abused your granddaughter and there you go. I'm not saying she'd do it, but a borderline is absolutely, if nothing else, totally unpredictable.

    I learned about borderline because I thought I'd had traits when I was younger. I found out later that I probably had a few traits, but not the whole ugly spectrum, which was why I desperately wanted to change and to work hard to change, which I did. I do not know how many full borderlines get help. The percentage is low. Most are happy enough controlling everyone around them and scaring their family into catering to them. My mom and sister are classic "cut you out of my life and I won't think twice about it" borderlines. My mom was cruel to the end and struck back through the grave by disinheriting me and telling my sibs not to list me in her obit. There is much more, but that's how bad it can get. I had tried to please her or at least come to peace with her and I thought I had. She tricked me. She hated me as much as ever. Nobody knows exactly why, but everyone does say the hate level increased when my grandmother (also with major problems) left money to my biological son and not my adopted kids, but they were minors and I refused to give all the money just to him. It was not much, but it was the meanness of the gesture that I refused to go along with. After that, because she could never make me do it, she wrote me off for not wanting to do that to my adopted kids. My bio. son knows about it and thinks it was a dumb thing to do. He agrees with me, not grandma. At any rate, this was my family of origin and I tried to do better and I did do better. Four of my five kids love and respect me and are close. That's much better than everyone else has done in my sick family, or ex-family as I think of them. My kids, except for GoneBoy, do not think of their childhoods as anything except fun and good! That's a victory for me, in my mind, as the black sheep of my ex-family and the scape goat. It isn't perfect, but I try and it is much better.

    You can not change your daughter. I think that getting your entire family together to confront her will enrage her and make things even worse. Read up more on borderline. Until she accepts having it, she can't get help for it. She will not admit her behavior to any therapist and all they can go by is what they are told. If a client lies, that is what a therapist has to work with. Dialectal Behavioral Therapy created by Dr. Marsha Lineham is the only known effective treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and it requires a commitment before anyone is allowed to attend therapy. It is usually done in a group and there are very strict rules because borderlines can be so high maintenance that the therapist must lay down the law. You can put DBT Self-Help into your search engine and a very cool site will come up which can maybe help you understand Difficult Child and deal with her better. Learn DBT skills and use them even if she is unaware that you are using therapy on her.

    Other than that, walk your path. We all go in our own directions. I wanted that perfect family too, but I learned to be very grateful for what I have and to ask my Higher Power for strength every day. I'm in a good place. You can get here too. Holding you back is the mindset, in the back of your head that tells you you can change your daughter. But that's part of your journey you must walk. I wish you lots of luck :)
  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I learned this from MWM and 2much2recover: If we have family of origin issues, and if we are different than our abusive or neglectful parent, we will spend alot of time trying to be better ourselves so that our families of origin can 1) heal and 2) celebrate ourselves and each other. The thing is, we seem not to be able to prevent what they do, so we try harder to be more than ~ more loving, more forgiving, more accepting. We do this because we don't want to hate them.

    I do it for that reason. Hatred and dislike and backstabbing are like, my family traditions. "Could you pass the butcher knife, please? Your father has his back turned. Thank you."



    That is not how it is in normal families, in the families of our friends, in the families of our mates, in the idealized television families we all grew up watching.

    MWM described it to me once this way: There are families who coalesce around love, which is based on trust, and there are families who coalesce around power, which is power over.

    MWM said it more clearly than that, but I don't want to go and look for the quote. I do have it in my quote box, though.

    But, just as our families of origin experienced the dysfunctions they did because some of the members fell prey to whatever dysfunctional genetic adaptation rides the genetic line, so do some of our children have that same genetic dysfunction. Here is what I know about genetic "dysfunction". Since we all are here, since we have survived through all the generations to be born into this one, there has to have been some survival value to the genetic dysfunction our family lines carry.

    It just isn't a good, survival-based genetic adaptation to be carrying, in this time.

    For all we know, that ability to be self-centered is what enabled our genetic lines to survive, back in the day. Add to this that here in America, most of our families of origin carry the genetic makeups of people who willingly went adventuring, betting their lives they would make it.

    Or, we carry the genetic makeups of those jerked out of their countries and away from their families and enslaved ~ we carry the genes of those who survived that.

    The rest, died out.

    There was something in them ~ courage, or rage, or spitefulness maybe ~ that enabled them to leave everything familiar to them, setting sail across a body of water so vast they lost sight of land for days and weeks at a time. And all this in a time when they weren't even sure how long that would take or whether they would ever arrive at all. Most of our relatives came here with their skills and their bravado and nothing else.

    But here we are.

    So, our families may be downright difficult to be part of, but they are not bad.

    They are what they are though, so it is best for us if we know what that is and what that means and how to see both them and ourselves.

    There are no villains, here.

    There are heroes, everywhere we look. It just depends on how we interpret what we see. Bravery and courage and outrageous belief in the self ~ those are good things. But in a time of plenty, those same character traits, that same individuality that assured survival in troubling times make for very disturbing relatives, now.

    They like, court danger.

    They are most alive riding the edge of a challenge and boy, do I see that in my kids.

    But I see it in my mother, too.

    So, it isn't that our people are bad, or that we are bad or good. It is that we need to learn what we can to make sense of what is happening to all of us, today.

    Why doesn't matter.

    Because we are wired differently than some of our family members, and because we have never had those trusting family relationships we can see so clearly in our mind's eye, we have spent our lives excusing the craziest, meanest, most pointlessly hurtful things because we believe it is simply a matter of will and opportunity and forgiveness to bring that family unit we can see so clearly into fruition.

    We keep trying to fix it.

    But once you can see the genetic connection, once you can look at each of the members of your family of origin and even, your children and grandchildren in this new light ~ there it is, plain as day.

    That part makes sense to me, too. It makes sense that both sides of the continuum would be expressed in the genetic family line.

    I think the gist of it might be that those who are more empathic are programmed to trust. Those of our family members who are less empathic have the genetic makeup that programs them not for trust, but for control.

    Our assignment, should we (as they say on Mission: Impossible) choose to accept it, is to see, and to accept, what is.

    You are wonderful. Loving and kind and filled with joy. I feel that way, too. We are the lucky ones, in a way. And, in a way, we too are a gift to our families from our genetic lines. Without those like us coming along fairly frequently as our genetic lines arrived to this time? None of us would have survived. We would have done one another in, long since. ("Please Cedar, pass me the butcher knife while your father has his back turned. Thank you.")

    So, that is how I see it.

    I still am not sure how to go about interacting with my family of origin. One day, when I am feeling especially mushy, I will be vulnerable enough to believe in it all of it again.

    They are all so bright and funny and absolutely entertaining! I really do miss them, miss that about them.

    Maybe that is why my sister calls me, every so often.

    Or maybe, she sees me as the genetically disadvantaged one.

    In the end, we do the best we know. We all do that, I think. For you and for me, it matters that we not tumble back into believing they think like we do. My sister and I were talking about this kind of thing once. About why she does what she does. She did not even deny it. You know what she said? "I know. I can't help it."

    Still, she likes to ride with spurs on.

    It is beautiful, in a way.

    So that's what I know about family, and about family of origin. As it is with our kids, we need to be wise, and we need to be wary. But I think that when we celebrate our families and our lives, we see and can feel the joy of it. I think for my sister and for my mother too I suppose, though I have not discussed that with her, they do not feel the joy of it.

    They feel the work and the bother, and they try very hard, and they seem unable ever to rest.

  14. Lioness

    Lioness Lioness

    Your story mirrors mine so much! My family of origin are crazy immigrants who came to England with nothing. My Dad is a selfish self centred flamboyant musician whom I accept with all his faults my kids adore him and he them. He was neve there for my sister and I though. My Mum is actually sectioned in a mental hospital sadly and doesn't want anything to do with me. She was a stunning woman with a cutting sense of humour coupled with physical & emotional abusive to us. My sister craves attention even now in her late 50's always attaining qualifications. She's funny, eccentric yet cold and selfish. My kids are all witty, very physically attractive. So they have a lot of hangers on. They are a wild bunch who have all done well and fluctuate between being really kind or really cruel. I too realise I can be extreme as when I love someone I love them ALOT yet I have a horrible temper and can say nasty things. But I only explode one or twice a year at the most and only after I take too much. I love them all so much and when it works as it did last year on holiday it was magical! I want to fix everything but now know it's impossible. Slowly I will accept. I will not antagonise my Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) daughter as I will lose my Grand daughter you are so right. I'm a persistent kind of person who doesn't like giving up. It is me who needs to change. X
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Billy, I am very stubborn. When I get something into my mind to do, I do it. It was inconceivable to me that there were things I could not do if I just never gave up. I am still this way about certain things...my health habits, learning about how people tick, staying young in heart and thought...but I have stopped trying to fix other people. They resent it and I can't do it. The four last words of the last sentence are powerful and awesome to me. I CAN'T DO IT! I hate those words. But I tried, and the more I tried, the more I was considered a troublemaker. Why? Because in my family of origin you did not question the dysfunction. You did not point it out. You did not act like you noticed we were not like the other families on the block. As a little girl, I noticed and I did!!! I was different too and I noticed and asked about it all the time. "What's wrong with me? GET ME HELP!"

    I read about various "mental health" disorders in the Encyclopedia Britannica, if you remember that :), before the internet. If nobody was going to tell me why I was different, I was going to find out on my own. Of course, back in the day, they would never have been able to give me any idea of why I was different. And sadder. A very depressed child and true, full force, adult-like depression kicked in at thirteen. It was a profound depression that was, in many ways, one of my worst depressions. I had delusions with that depression. I thought the kids, who teased me anyway, were outside my house listening to me so I whispered at home. I still got no help. ANd then when I snapped out of my depression to a one-second-switch from low to high (my only mania I can really recall) nobody noticed the difference either. My mom, who was very verbally abusive, told me she would not take me to a psychiatrist because they'd just tell me that I was this way because of her. And she wasn't going to pay to get blamed. My Dad? He was there...but never there.

    Anyhow, as more vulnerable emotionally than my sister and not suffering with CRohn's Disease, as my brother did (Crohn's was a disease they could SEE so my family did believe HE ha problems, although they didn't think I did), I became the family blacksheep. EVERY DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY HAS A GOLDEN CHILD (my brother in this case) and A BLACK SHEEP (me). It doesn't end in childhood. Usually, the black sheep is the most perceptive and outspoken member of the family unit, refusing to just go along with the horror of the family. WE try to talk about it, we admit our own failings (perhaps too much, as our failings are the only things that dysfunctional families will accept from a scape goat) and we are willing to go to family therapy, but they aren't. And they are mad at us for bringing up our relational problems.

    My father's family survived the Holocaust (Jewish family). My mother's family is a big puzzl to me. We (siblings) were told very little about our grandmother's origins or family and did not meet many of her brothers and sisters of which she had several. She wasn't close to more than maybe two of them. I know nothing of my mother's great-grandmother. All I know about my grandmother is that her origins were in Russia/Grandfather's were in Germany, both Jewish. Did they get tough for survival? Did that alter their genes? I don't know. I do know, interesting, my mother named me after my grandfather's mother, the only relative of his I know anything about. She put him into foster care while she thought she was deathly ill until she died in her 90s. Why name your kid after somebody like THAT?

    But she had told me many times she had no connection to me while pregnant or after I was born and I guess I knew it. I kicked and stiffened and cried and she said she couldn't hold me so she propped my bottle against my crib. (Of course she told me that later on she loved me so much...haha). I think she did at one time, but it faded when I grew up and kept challenging our family's ways, calling out the BS and meanness. Funny, I recall her arguing with her own mother, my grandma, about how she favored her son over her. She was in her 60's at the time. She never got over her jealousy of her brother, yet he was also golden to her and could do no wrong. Uncle was a piece of work. Brilliant man, but loved to call me "Selfish" and "brat." I may have been a brat, but I'm not selfish and never was. Yet that is my rep in my family of origin. Doesn't make any sense, really. I was such a giving child and even as an adult....

    We can do better than our parents did by learning from their mistakes and trying harder. In my case, my DNA scared me so much that I had one biological child and after becoming very depressed and then worrying if the baby would suffer from mental illness, I swore I'd adopt the rest of my kids. This is no exaggeration. It's true. And it worked out for the most part. My adopted kids are loving and sweet. My bio. son had a lot of challenges. He did have to drop out of college because of mental illness. He is doing much better now (as am I), but of course he had to inherit that! Figures!!!!

    I'm glad I decided to adopt. It does not always mean you will have a troubled child. That is a sterotype and has a lot to do with THEIR genetics. Jumper is an angel. Princess and her daughter (oh, but I love my granddauther) are loving and wonderful girls. Sonic is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and he tries so hard, autism and all. Not my DNA. I think in my case not spreading my DNA too much helped.

    Just do the bst you can. That is all any of us can do. And don't deny what you see. Accept it. It brings more peace:) Denial is very stressful and leads to consequences.Think with your gut feelings, not your heart or what you wish things would be like. That leads to so much heartache. Put "Radical Acceptance into your search engine and read about it. Hugs
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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  16. Lioness

    Lioness Lioness

    Brought tears to my eyes your story, it really did. So much pain and anguish in families. my heart and head are in a constant battle. Somehow I will get there. I will need time to mourn what could be (should) be. I know should isn't allowed. My DNA should never have been mixed with my exes that's for sure. His father was a stern non vocal man and a mother who lived in a Valium haze. My exes grandmother committed suicide as did his Aunty. My ex suffered from depression and still drinks to excess today & is never happy. My Mum tried to kill herself the first time when I was 9 and made 3 more attempts since. Maybe we need to look at each other's DNA before procreating??!! Why have I never seen this mess so clearly before? X
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Most people don't think about it, but because I was personally affected by my family's crappi DNA, I did think about it. And I wish we'd give a thought to who we are breeding with as well, although who does? Nobody thinks, "This guy is not very stable so it's best not to have a bio. kid with him." We're too young when we have our kids. We think we'll be such good parents and that will override everything.

    Billy, when I was pregnant the hormone changes, which affect me profoundly, threw me into a deep depression and I spent ten weeks in a psychiatric hospital of my choosing. Back then you could choose your place to get help and stay until you were better and insurance covered it. Yes, very vintage!!!! While I was in there, without medications for a long time due to my pregnancy, I was given a lot of university psychiatric books to read and I gobbled them up (it was a university hospital, which I think are the best ones). I learned a lot. They had not even touched the genetic aspect of personality problems yet, but they had touched upon mood disorders and heredity...so I felt my baby was doomed. I did not realize my parents and sister did not just get depressed, although not as badly as I did, but that t hey genuinely were not very empathetic or nice. But I just had a strong feeling that your personality problems are also inherited. I don't know why.

    Bart is very open about how he was conceived. My husband was sterile and had a very serious metabolic disorder that has almost killed him many times. It is 50% hereditary and his father had it. We did not know any of this at the time, but we did know he was sterile so we chose to have a Sperm Donor. Bart does not know the other side of his DNA and will never know it. Fortunately, he has no interest. Even if you even bring it up, he cuts you off with "Dad is my dad. Not interested. Next subject." He is so much like my family in both good (very intelligent and creative) and bad (can be cold, very anxiety prone) ways. I don't see the degree of selfishness in him that is apparent in Mom, Dad and Sissy. Thank God!!!! But I simply did not want to take another chance, even before I knew what he'd be like. I told my husband many times while in the hospital, "I want more kids...a big family...but is it ok if we just adopt?" He was fine with that.

    My ex came from a very nice family (although he wasn't...lol), but it would have been horrible if we had had a child who then had inherited his terrible disorder that made my ex sick all of his life and killed his father, who had not known he had it. Ex had two serious operations to remove adrenal glads as tumors were causing adrenalin to be released quick and fast and could cause heart attack (this happened to his dad at age 42 without warning). Then he had his thyroid removed as, which often goes with this syndrome, he had medullary thyroid cancer. So he has no adrenal glands and no thyroid and has needed heavy duty medications since age 27. His brother was the other 50%...doesn't have it so his kids can't get it because if the gene is there it is dominant and you WILL get it.

    WE think about diseases when we have kids. We do not think about personality being inherited. But it is. So is mental illness.

    Maybe in the future, a genetic study will include whether your DNA genepool has personality problems that are severe. I hope so. It's not just about illnesses you can see...it's about illnesses that manifest as core aspects of personality too. Our kids and us have to live with who they are. And so do we and it can break our heart.
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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Well, I think we did not know the subtler abnormalities were abnormal. The beatings and verbal abuse ~ I think we knew those were wrong, but that part gets pretty complex.

    What it comes down to is that we are carrying guilt and shame that are not real. That is where freedom is for us, I think. Where we feel an inadequacy or shame or disgust ~ those are the places ready to heal. Brene Brown studies shame, and recovering from it. If you google her on TED, you will find twenty minute presentations which I think will be helpful. They were helpful to me.

    Another excellent book is Self Esteem, by McKay/Fanning.

    Patricia Evans The Verbally Abusive Relationship.

    Joel Osteen's sermons were very helpful to me.

    We are fortunate. I am so happy to know you had your family together on vacation and that everything went well for you.



    Oh. Gratitude, so we can celebrate all that we have wholeheartedly. For that, Annie Lamott. She will be on Facebook, and may be on TED, as well. Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance.

    The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle.

    Dance of the Spirit, the Seven Steps of Women's Spirituality, Maria Harris.

    Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
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  19. Lioness

    Lioness Lioness

    Oh my! I agree wholeheartedly with you that some day they may be able and allow us to check each other's DNA before having kids together. I was 18 and in love. I believed in the fairy tale. My heart is big and has been broken but I always piece it back together again. X
  20. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Tanya, I read the list quickly the day you posted, but was glad to take the time to read it again, slowly.

    For me, there are some toxic people, and then there are degrees in relationships all the way to the other side of the continuum---to the closest of friends and husband.

    There are very few totally toxic people in my life right now---I can think of one situation. With others, there are periods of time when I have pulled way, way back for a time, because the behaviors were toxic. For most, in time, we were able to resume and even create a new, healthier relationship. In almost all relationships, I have become aware of boundaries and of establishing much healthier boundaries for myself and hopefully for them along the way.

    With difficult child, I set boundaries that included very little to no contact for periods of time, when I started taking better care of myself and determining what I needed to function and then thrive.

    I am very attune today to behaviors that are manipulative, one-sided, stressful to me, even just worrisome, where I come back to the relationship and whatever happened multiple times during the day.

    This situation is enough in and of itself to create stronger boundaries.

    Today, I ask myself: What do I need to have a good day today? I try to listen to myself---I am much kinder to myself than ever before in my life.

    Billy, I think the answer to this hope and prayer is: give yourself the love you need. We don't need to wait any more for our families to give us what we need. Most of us are well into adulthood. We need to look closely at what we need, and then---give it to ourselves or surround ourselves with people who are healthy for us.

    The unhealthy ones---set varying degrees of boundaries with them. And those boundaries can change over time, as people and situations change.

    Today, difficult child and I can talk, text and see each other periodically. We usually communicate about once a week or maybe twice. I haven't seen him in several weeks.

    That is okay with me. He needs to live his life, and I don't need to know all of the gory details. That's his business and I don't want to worry myself with things that aren't my business.

    This is a good topic.
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