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Cutting Off Toxic Family Members

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posted on May, 23 2013 @ 10:32 PM
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So sorry to read about what you've had to deal with. Families are supposed to be where you go for support and love, but so many don't have that. Everyone of us is raised as a product of our environment and, this includes your parents, siblings, grandparents, great grandparents. There's a co-dependence that exists in some of these relationships. That's why so many people say that when they're out in the world, they're confident and successful but when they go back to their family, they're made to feel the awkward, picked on, stupid, etc... kid that they were when they were young.
It's called "codependency". It's about controlling behavior and how you react to it, or even how you contribute to it. There's nothing, absolutely, nothing you can do about other people's behavior, but you can certainly change how you react to it. There's a fantastic book on the subject that a friend of mine kept suggesting I read when dealing with my difficult ex. I didn't think I was a codependent until I picked it up and read it. It has completely changed my life. It's changed how I relate to everyone in my life. I don't know what the rules are here on ATS about posting the name of the book but if I can't, I'd be happy to share the name of the book with you if you message me, or I'm sure you can find a lot of books on the subject in the library. Sounds like you're on the move in the right direction, but if you were raised in this environment, you carry that baggage with you into all your relationships with everyone around you and you need to understand and shed the bad influences your family has had on you.
Namaste.




posted on May, 24 2013 @ 01:02 AM
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reply to post by ButterCookie
 


I feel terrible that you've had to do this with your family, but you need to do what's in your own best interests to ensure your well-being.

I stand in solidarity with you as I've had to do this with my family as well, every single one of them, and I feel absolutely no shame, guilt, or remorse.

The part you described where your relatives were all up in your business whenever you fell on hard times yet give you the kiss off during the good times resonates so well with me.

The reason for it is all right there in your narrative - it is about control. When you are doing well they don't have it and it pisses them off. When you are doing poorly they can't wait to get in line and exert leverage on you.

It's been at least 2 years now since I've even spoken with my mother. I can't even remember the last time I've spoken with any of my sisters - I don't even know their phone numbers or where they live now.

I think my grandparents are still alive, not really sure, don't really care.

AND I DON'T MISS THEM AT ALL.



posted on May, 24 2013 @ 01:58 AM
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reply to post by happyhomemaker29
 


Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Taking medication as prescribed by your doctor for a known medical condition does not an addict make!

I can't believe this # I am reading.

When I was diagnosed with CF, the first step with my family was denial:

Yep, I'm totally faking it - I can even fake it on genetic tests and am so pro I can even fool sweat testing, bloodwork, ultrasound/MRIs, and spirometry.

All the constant pain I am in - just faking it! so I can pop pills. The O2 canisters and concentrators - it's just for show, man. My handicapped placard? It's because I am lazy and I love getting in on all the premium parking. No medical basis whatsoever. Everyone should do it, it's boss.

The next step was blame and deflection:

The reason I "came down" with CF is because I am not living right. It's totally my fault for doing ... something ... irresponsible and now I am paying the piper. Yep.

You also got it from your (deceased, and we never liked him anyways) father's side of the family. We are experts in biology and are getting ready to publish our first paper about the amazing miracle wunderkind who had both copies of the gene passed down from just one parent...

... If it is even genetic, I mean - it's still totally all my fault for something dumb I did. To admit otherwise would be to admit that maybe they are not so perfect as they thought and it would be so damaging to their fragile little egos.

Finally came the justifications:

* I'm fishing for sympathy.
* I'm just looking for reasons to avoid responsibility.
* I'm "playing it up" and it is not nearly as big of a deal as I'm making it out to be.
* Yeah, I "get that way" too sometimes.
* It's psychosomatic/I'm a hypochondriac.
* Nobody else in the family has it, so we're calling bull#.
* Everyone has problems so suck it up and quit playing the victim.

... and my all-time favorite ...

* But... but... YOU DON'T LOOK SICK!


Does any of this sound familiar, happyhomemaker??

I hope my wife doesn't find this post and read it because it will just make her all upset ... but I'm dying. I know in the philosophical sense we all are, I mean I am terminally ill. The only thing I don't know yet is just how fast this thing is going to go down.

You would think that during this time my family would have been empathetic, maybe going out of their way at least a little bit to share in whatever moments they can while the opportunity still exists, but this never happened.

And now it is their loss, not mine.

I guess my point is: Always be your own advocate, and don't let the idiots of the world no matter who they are get to you.



posted on May, 24 2013 @ 03:51 AM
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I can sympathize with your feelings in a sense, since I had similar situations.

My parents both never went to college, with somewhat 'blue collar' jobs, never really showed any interest, or gave me any support, in my endeavors. Never really celebrated any of my successes. Never even asked me what I wanted to do with my life, or gave me any direction or support, and could care less about how I performed in school or in anything else. It was all irrelevant to them. Anything I did had to be self motivated.

I know it is lame, but some people do not really want to see you do better then they have, (and even less - much better than they have) since that would bring up feelings/ideas of inferiority or even jealousy. Nobody wants to feel inferior or jealous, so those inclined to do so do not want to hear about your success or potential for success.

What I have learned over the years is that nobody owes you anything, not even your mother and father. As a child you demand things, like love, attention, respect, care, etc. You may feel that they are obligated to give you those things, but really they can do whatever they want. Some parents throw their children away in the garbage. I am not saying any of these things are right, or good, but just making the point - they can do whatever they want.

I think what is important is not to hold any resentment toward people, as if they owe you. Nobody owes you anything.

You also don't want to take any actions you may regret in the future due to any resentment you may have. Don't let the haters turn you into the same.

Just focus on yourself, take the right actions, don't worry about others who make ill actions.

There are alternatives to cutting people off, like keeping a safe distance; sometimes that is better to avoid any regret. Family - especially mother or father - sometimes you can't help but love them, and you can't do that if they're cut off.

Do what you think is best.

Best wishes.



posted on May, 24 2013 @ 06:35 AM
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Originally posted by KyrieEleison
reply to post by happyhomemaker29
 


Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Taking medication as prescribed by your doctor for a known medical condition does not an addict make!

I can't believe this # I am reading.

When I was diagnosed with CF, the first step with my family was denial:

Yep, I'm totally faking it - I can even fake it on genetic tests and am so pro I can even fool sweat testing, bloodwork, ultrasound/MRIs, and spirometry.

All the constant pain I am in - just faking it! so I can pop pills. The O2 canisters and concentrators - it's just for show, man. My handicapped placard? It's because I am lazy and I love getting in on all the premium parking. No medical basis whatsoever. Everyone should do it, it's boss.

The next step was blame and deflection:

The reason I "came down" with CF is because I am not living right. It's totally my fault for doing ... something ... irresponsible and now I am paying the piper. Yep.

You also got it from your (deceased, and we never liked him anyways) father's side of the family. We are experts in biology and are getting ready to publish our first paper about the amazing miracle wunderkind who had both copies of the gene passed down from just one parent...

... If it is even genetic, I mean - it's still totally all my fault for something dumb I did. To admit otherwise would be to admit that maybe they are not so perfect as they thought and it would be so damaging to their fragile little egos.

Finally came the justifications:

* I'm fishing for sympathy.
* I'm just looking for reasons to avoid responsibility.
* I'm "playing it up" and it is not nearly as big of a deal as I'm making it out to be.
* Yeah, I "get that way" too sometimes.
* It's psychosomatic/I'm a hypochondriac.
* Nobody else in the family has it, so we're calling bull#.
* Everyone has problems so suck it up and quit playing the victim.

... and my all-time favorite ...

* But... but... YOU DON'T LOOK SICK!


Does any of this sound familiar, happyhomemaker??

I hope my wife doesn't find this post and read it because it will just make her all upset ... but I'm dying. I know in the philosophical sense we all are, I mean I am terminally ill. The only thing I don't know yet is just how fast this thing is going to go down.

You would think that during this time my family would have been empathetic, maybe going out of their way at least a little bit to share in whatever moments they can while the opportunity still exists, but this never happened.

And now it is their loss, not mine.

I guess my point is: Always be your own advocate, and don't let the idiots of the world no matter who they are get to you.


I too am one of the many with an invisible illness. The sad thing? I come from a long line of alcoholic and spent 10 years in incredible pain with no medication because I didn't want to become addicted. My strongest medication is Lyrica and some days I won't even take that. I'm supposed to have a morphine pump in my spine but I refuse to have it done. I still have left over vicodin from a double surgery last year that I don't like taking. When the pain from the surgery got too bad, I didn't take a whole vicodin, I took a quarter or a half. I'm such a control freak, I refuse to allow a medication to control me, I HAVE to be in control at all times. THAT'S how much of an addict I am. In fact, as it stands right now, I'm out of half of my Lyrica, I have 3 trazadone left (I have no Level 4 REM sleep), and I'm completely out of SSRIs so my brain has been out of whack for a couple of days now.By next week I'll be out of my heart medication that also helps my migraines from my brain tumor. Yeah, this month will be fun!



posted on May, 24 2013 @ 08:42 AM
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reply to post by nOraKat
 


I almost started an entire thread on an very important point that you have made. No one owes you anything. Furthermore, no one owes you love, not even your parents.

I think that it is this realization that allows people to go a. and break free from toxic family members.

When a woman has a child, it is assumed that she loves that child with all her heart; sadly that is not the case. Even so, she may love the child at one point, but then cuts it off at a later time, naturally. What I am saying is that I don't love is a 'natural thing'. It is not automatic. And definitely not automatic by blood.

As an example, let's say you are watching the news and see a tragic story about a man being killed in a car crash. You really don't think twice about it, other than to say, "Dang, that was said". You carry on.

Later, your grandmother calls you and asks if you saw the news. You say yes. She says the car crash victim was an uncle of yours that you never knew about. You say, "Really? Wow.". Yet, you feel no more sadder than you felt than when you watched it.

'Love' is a how you relate to a person, and how they make you feel. Two total strangers are not feeling 'love'.

If you don't relate to a relative in a positive way, and they don't make you feel wanted and supported, then it truly is not 'love'.



posted on May, 24 2013 @ 10:19 AM
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reply to post by nOraKat
 


I can't entirely agree with the idea that "nobody owes you anything" when it comes to parents but maybe I'm being too literal this morning. The way that I see it is that, when a parent chooses to bring a child into this world, they are obligated to provide for them in a manner that at least fulfills the child's most basic needs. That's called making the choice to have children. There is an obligation. If there were no obligation for a parent to care for a child, then we wouldn't occasionally see stories of children being treated in a horrific manner whose parents were arrested and charged with criminal negligence and much, much more plastered across news outlets. Legally, parents are obligated to provide food, shelter, and protection for their children. Once they fail those obligations (if caught), then criminal charges may be laid against them.

A lot of us were still just children when these toxic family members began their antics. A lot of us seemed to have suffered varying degrees of physical abuse. These toxic family members may not have owed us love but they sure as hell owed us some level of safety, even from themselves. My mother used to try to strangle me. She wasn't obligated to love me but that sure as hell didn't give her the right to abuse the **** out of me. Parents will do whatever they want but they are obligated by law to not neglect and/or abuse their children. Even once the child grows to adulthood, they are still legally obligated to not abuse the child. If their antics are illegal (ie physical abuse), they can still be charged and found guilty of a crime. The last time my mother wrapped her hands around my neck in a fit of fury, I was 24 years old. She would have been charged with domestic assault and perhaps attempted murder if I had reported it to the police (abuse is our "normal" so I did not). She may not be obligated to love me but she sure as hell owes me, to this day, personal safety from even herself.



posted on May, 24 2013 @ 10:49 AM
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reply to post by WhiteAlice
 


In the USA parents are not even obligated to do that anymore.

All they need to do is drop the little bundle off at their local police/fire department or other designated "safe haven" and be done with it. You can even do this anonymously.

Those laws regarding not abusing and/or killing your child - well, those apply to anyone, related or not, there really is no higher standard involved. While I was on patrol, if someone tried choking out another person, it really didn't matter if they were related or not, agg bat is agg bat.

I think the underlying point here is that parents are not obligated to love you, especially if in their heart they never really wanted you in the first place.

I've seen parents who treat the family dog better than they treat their child. Sure, they house both, feed both, allow medical care for both, but pour all of their time, love, and emotions into one and neglect the other.

These kinds of people are sick in the . and should never be allowed to be parents, but this is a free country so I guess we have to suck it up and bear it so as to not step on anyone else's rights or anything... being loved is not a right.



posted on May, 24 2013 @ 11:13 AM
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reply to post by happyhomemaker29
 


The farthest I've gone was high doses of transdermal fentanyl back when I was still in denial myself and I was willing to do almost anything to keep working as an engineer and hold on to everything I had tried so hard for up to that point.

It didn't work out, and I had to let it go.

That stuff, while perhaps a bit too good at doing its job of relieving my pain, turned me into a zombie and a mere shell of what I once was.

So, like so many other terminally ill patients, I slowly weaned myself off of it and am now taking an alternative medicine that still provides me with at least a little bit of quality of life and I've learned to handle the pain through other means such as meditation and recognizing I have my limits.

As it stands both myself and all of my MDs are satisfied with the results and that is the end of the matter - I really don't care what anyone else thinks unless they'd like to trade places in which case by all means step up.
edit on 24-5-2013 by KyrieEleison because: Replaced derp with herp



posted on May, 24 2013 @ 11:53 AM
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reply to post by ButterCookie
 


You are so right in the things you are saying. I'm grateful you posted this thread.

Some of us need to get our .s on straight, do some soul searching, and seriously re-consider our priorities.






posted on May, 24 2013 @ 12:08 PM
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reply to post by KyrieEleison
 


Safe haven laws and the right to give up one's child to adoption are things in place with the intent to prevent child abuse and neglect. Once a child is left in "safe haven" or given up to adoption, the parent gives up all parental rights and obligations to the child. A parent who does not give up those rights and obligations to a child through adoption or "safe haven" is legally responsible for the welfare of that child. Period. There is a higher standard involved as there are additional agencies (CPS) and laws involved (child abuse/child endangerment/child neglect). Those who drop off their child in a "safe haven" manner are actually being more responsible than those who maintain control over a child and subject that child to abuse and neglect. Technically, while love may not be an "obligation", the parent is still required by law to provide for their child's emotional needs. It's just a whole lot harder to prosecute.


Emotional abuse (or psychological abuse) is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child's emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance. Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove and, therefore, child protective services may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm or mental injury to the child.

www.childwelfare.gov...

You said that if the parent never even wanted you, then they are not obligated to love you. Well, that's precisely why "safe haven" laws exist. Safe haven laws do not exist as an excuse to forgo parental obligation to adequate care of a child for those parents who retain parental rights.



posted on May, 24 2013 @ 12:34 PM
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reply to post by WhiteAlice
 


They are a pragmatic response to a real problem.

The point I was making is that:

You can have all the laws in the universe to protect the welfare of children, but you CANNOT "MAKE" A PARENT LOVE THEIR CHILD.

The penalty is that the child, justifiably, is removed from the abusive environment.

I really don't understand what we're arguing about here?



posted on May, 24 2013 @ 02:02 PM
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reply to post by KyrieEleison
 


You were responding to a post of mine in response to another poster's post (sounds like Dr. Seuss) about whether a parent owes a child anything. They stated that nobody owes anybody anything and I was retorting that there are legal obligations for being a good parent/providing for a child's basic needs emotionally, psychologically and physically. You interjected with the safe haven law, stating that a parent in the US isn't even obligated to do that. That's where I take serious issue. Frankly, if I was the sort of person to regret the course of my life and find no value in what I've got now, I would've been freaking grateful if my mother had given up her parental rights and obligations through "safe haven" or putting me up for adoption as I would've at least had someone who actually had an intention of wanting a child. My mother was, at the time of my birth, given counseling because the hospital staff were so afraid by her remarks that she was already rejecting me within the first 5 minutes of my birth. Not kidding. Based on all that she did throughout the course of my life, they should've taken me away from her. So basically, using the safe haven law as statement that parents are no longer obligated to provide for basic needs is kind of repugnant to me for those reasons.

I agree wholeheartedly that no law in the world can force a parent to love a child. However, even a parent who doesn't love a child is obligated by law to provide for those basic needs. A responsible and good parent will comprehend that that little life's survival and ability to thrive is dependent on them and will do the right thing, including shielding the child as best as they can from their actual feelings. I think where it goes wrong is that the people that are like that, more often than not, dive into their resentments/dislike .long. I also don't think that a child (or an adult who was abused as a child) has to "suck it up". That said though, I am going to someday have the satisfaction of being the more responsible adult than my parents ever were as I will have zero to do with their care when they become elderly and dependent as I know that revenge would be too much of a temptation for all that they've done.
They're getting a "safe haven" from me.



posted on May, 24 2013 @ 03:03 PM
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reply to post by WhiteAlice
 


It's tragic, and difficult for me to understand as I come from a background of both physical and psychological abuse also, but it is what it is.

This does not mean I accept it.

Regardless of all the laws that get put in place it still seems to be a reactive solution as opposed to a proactive one and I don't really see any way around it without agitating the folks who insist that the state stay out of their business.

I'm sorry for what happened to you - to anyone, really, who have suffered like we have, and if I ruled the world I'm not exactly sure what I would do but I do recognize the fact that there will always be some types out there that just do not care and nothing - no amount of legislation, or education, or punishment, or shame from public outcry - will change them.

I think we could be doing a lot better in protecting our children, it sounds like that is something we both definitely agree on.


ETA: I think I see where you are coming from now ... when I said "so I guess we have to suck it up and bear it" I wasn't trying to be a callous douchebag, and I'm sorry if you took it that way - perhaps I was a bit too succinct and my reasoning is further explained above.
edit on 24-5-2013 by KyrieEleison because: (no reason given)


ETA: More food for thought, see my post here on page 9.
edit on 24-5-2013 by KyrieEleison because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 25 2013 @ 11:26 AM
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Originally posted by ButterCookie
Basically, positive news is a repellant to them.

Many of you know a little about me. As a black woman in a circle of impoverished family members, essentially, I "dared" too much for them. I dared to 'leave the plantation' by:

wear my hair natural (not permed)
not voting Democratically
seeking higher education
not wanting to be comfortable living on welfare
not being religious

Water is thin, and blood is thick- but too much blood can make you sick.


edit on 22-5-2013 by ButterCookie because: (no reason given)


I've read all of your posts Butter and for the life of me I can't understand why you're doing what you're doing by answering the phone, opening your door and otherwise providing opportunities for them to talk to you. You say positive news is a repellant to them yet you insist on changing a negative subject they started and trying to make it positive. Something that repulses them.

You want to cut the ties that bind? Then cut them. Quit answering the phone. If they knock on the door, open it and say

"May I help you?"

"What do you mean "may I help you?" I'm your mother."

"I'm sorry ma'am, but I don't know you. If you come here again I'm going to call the police for harassment."

If your kids have a problem with that remind them who brings positive vibes and love into the house. Cutting out a negative influence in the manner I just described, in front of your kids, is about the most positive thing you can do for them.

Far be it for me to tell you this, but it sounds like your family is full of n*****s, and you aint one of them. I know you know that Butter, but since you're black you're hesitant to use that word yourself so seriously. You don't belong, so why associate with them at all?

The bottom line is that it takes a VERY thick skin to walk out on a way of life, especially blood, and never look back. Ever. Judging from the content of your posts, I don't think you're ready to do that. Hopefully you will be someday if everything you describe is what it is. I wish you the best.

youtu.be...




posted on May, 25 2013 @ 02:48 PM
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reply to post by KyrieEleison
 


What you touch on in your post on that thread is children's rights. Although we do have protections for the welfare of children, children's rights are sadly pretty limited. I think what compounds the issue further is something that gets brought up here in this thread a few times. We were all basically indoctrinated to "suck it up because we're family". CPS actually did show up on my doorstep with a school counselor after my mom, in her infinite wisdom, sent me to school one day with a face full of bruises. My mother asked them if she could speak with me alone for a few minutes and they allowed her to. It was her right as a parent apparently. She sat me on my bed and started chronicling my future and the potential danger of the foster care system. Tears filled her eyes when she talked about how I would lose the only mother that I would ever have and I wouldn't have a mother again. She urged me to walk through the door and tell them to leave, that I had lied about the origin of the bruises on my face. That's exactly what I did and that is, in part, I think why the profound psychological abuse began in earnest. She started shopping for psychologists and psychiatrists that would "find out why I lied" until she found a couple extremely unethical ones. The moment that CPS deferred to her rights as a parent pretty much launched a nasty, nasty course that persisted for about 4-5 years. They failed me the moment they allowed the accused abuser private access to me on the basis of her parental rights.

Is that the kind of thing you're thinking? If I ruled the world, I don't know what I would do about it either but another thing that I think we'd both definitely agree on is that we would both give children equal rights.



posted on May, 25 2013 @ 04:26 PM
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reply to post by WhiteAlice
 


Yes, WhiteAlice, this is exactly what I am talking about.

Apparently, since we live in an (allegedly) free society, we have to somehow strike some sort of balance between individual rights versus the heavy hand of the state.



They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

So, it would seem, to some people, that in order to enjoy all of our freedoms unfettered we need to forgo certain things lest the country slip into tyranny. In essence, we need to suck it up and bear it to preserve said (alleged) free society.

However, this is not the way I see things when it comes to this:

Our children are deserving of the same liberties, too. They deserve to be raised in loving homes by parents who will care for them and protect them. Normally, our parents are sane and are capable advocates for their children. But, when they are not, as is sometimes the case, who is going to be their advocate? Where does one draw the line?

Children are not psychologically developed enough to act in their own best interests. They deserve equal rights just as any other citizen would, yet I find these rights to be dismally lacking.

Just about every solution implemented so far that I can think of is a reactive solution after things have already gone too far. If you ask me, this is not good enough. We should be a lot more proactive and tackle these problems .-on before they fester into tragedy.

Sadly, I am just a stupid idiot, so I don't have all the answers, and any proposals that even hint at more involvement by the state will be met with harangue and contempt by our fellow citizens who are doing the right thing and don't want others involved in their family life - justifiably so since it would be wrong.

What to do, what to do ... ?



posted on May, 28 2013 @ 08:22 AM
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reply to post by ButterCookie
 
Are you sure that wasn't my mom stealing things and then claiming they were always hers?Wow I'd swear we're related to the same people.



posted on May, 28 2013 @ 08:33 AM
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reply to post by ButterCookie
 
My children also have a substitue grandma in the form of my aunt.She is much more grounded than my mother.Though even there I watch my P's and Q's because the insanity is only a layer or two away.Thankfully she comes to her senses quick when she realizes she was being overbearing or controlling.



posted on Jun, 5 2013 @ 12:58 PM
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First of all, congratulations on doing your best to set a positive example for your kids!

Secondly, this just reeks of insecurity on their part about their lives. Because they didn't go to college and had to rely on government assistance, they see you doing good as threatening to their psych in a way because they see you doing it, and realize, it could have been done, but may not be too late for them, if you know what I mean at all? I'm a psychology geek. I'm always getting into why people do the things they do.

I go through the same thing with several family members. I actually had a cousin with three kids purposefully not show up at my sons first birthday party, because I could not make it to her daughters party that year. So because I was way too busy that day to make it, she thought she should not come to Collin's. Who does that? And let me tell you, most of my family members do that. If you can't show up to theirs ONE year, they aren't coming to yours.

Family is a tricky thing. It can be hard to cut any member off. But sometimes its VERY necessary.



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