Being in the midst of family dysfunction

Ok, here is it. Not me being helpful or analytical or professional.  Just me, asking for support and help.

Just me, a person, oppressed and exhausted by my family dysfunction.  I am in the middle, but I can’t be Switzerland.  When it comes to family, I can’t stay neutral.  Even though I don’t take sides I am impacted by the fighting in my family.  My parents and my brother are no longer speaking. Every family holiday is impacted and nothing is the same.  It is probably amazing, if you know us, how well all of us kids even turned out considering the upbringing we had, in that it was neither loving nor supportive in the way kids need.  In spite of that, we almost made it through to the completion of our parent’s lifespan without this being so obvious.  Despite all the issues in the past, all us kids made our peace with it and continued to see our parents very regularly, like weekly, which is pretty unusual these days.

But the scale tipped drastically and everyone is affected. I am angry with my parents for bringing in a lawyer and starting legal action with my brother.  I am angry, I can’t fix it, I can’t stop it, and I can’t seem to stop being upset by it. I go through periods where I’m in a better place about letting it go.  I go through periods where I’m ok with only partial amounts of family together for major holidays, and not everyone being invited. Then, like now, I start to anticipate the holiday coming up and how it will be with only part of the family there.  I listen to my parents speak ill of my brother and I strongly disagree, but just like when I was growing up, they  don’t listen.    I shouldn’t be surprised because they never did listen to me.

So I will try to calm down again and breathe.  I will try to love each of them to the best of my ability and forgive them for their horrible behavior to the best of my ability.  I will try to focus on the present and what I have to be grateful about today….but sometimes, I just can’t let it go, and I wish I could.

Being in the midst of family dysfunction

5 thoughts on “Being in the midst of family dysfunction

  1. David Schwebke says:

    Think I would need to know the details of their court case and your view of it before commenting on that. Otherwise, our family is somewhat dysfunctional, as well. Over the years, I’ve gotten more used to it, especially after becoming independent. We’re distant from each other,so contact can be controlled most of the time, to reduce unpleasantness. At least there’s no lawsuit to get in the way of enjoying and taking control of my life. My sister, Peggy, and my dad are the closest, physically, and I think I’m getting better at letting any unpleasantness roll off my back– not completely, but hopefully getting there. Hope surrounding yourself with other people who like or even love you and give you some good comments will get you through this. Best wishes, Rhonda. Hope I can see you with your usual nice smile at our next session. Either way, I offer you a good hug and whatever else I can contribute to your happiness. Take care.


  2. Karen Leny says:

    I have been in the middle of conflict between my son and his step father for 14+ years. It has required individual therapy for myself, anger management for my son, and more anxiety medications for myself. Good news is that there is hope, I am happy to report that my husband and my son have been speaking since November 2013, and my son is actually welcome in our home!

    There was a family wedding in November 2013 that changed the relationship between my son and my husband, and ruined our relationship with extended family. My son doesn’t normally attend family functions because he feels like the black sheep of the family (drug & prison history), but he agreed to go to this wedding because his 88 year old Grandma was going to be there. In hind sight we all wish he hadn’t gone.

    As the bartender at the reception called for last call, my son was exchanging his phone number with his Aunt’s and Uncle’s. My son was intoxicated, as were many of the guests who drink alcohol. When my son asked his Uncle Nick for his phone number, Uncle Nick replied “why the F*ck would I want your phone number” followed by “no one wants you here, why are you here”?

    The two of them stood up and were ready to take it outside, when my son was grabbed from behind by his cousin and thrown down on a round table, shattering the glass centerpiece and causing quite a scene. This was followed by a groomsmen who “sucker punched” my son in the face two times while being held down on the table.

    Of course the banquet facility had called the police department who arrived shortly. My son was brought into a small room for questioning by one police officer, while Uncle Nick, the groom and his cousin were interviewed by the second police officer. My brother in law and my nephews told the police that my son was the cause of “ruining the wedding” and he had been a “problem” all night, and several people wanted him criminally charged.

    My son was arrested (because he had cocaine in his pocket and was on parole) and the groomsmen who assaulted my son was never questioned or arrested. I blame my brother in law for provoking my son and speaking to him in a way that I would never speak to another family member. He had the chance to tell the police not to press charges, and that everyone over reacted from having too much to drink. He chose not to, and I hate him for being the one to send my son back to prison. My husband defended my son for the first time, because he saw and heard what Uncle Nick said. This time my son was the victim – Uncle Nick provoked him with his verbal abuse that many in my family have been subjected to.

    I have not seen my brother in law or 2 nephews since the wedding, and now Grandma’s 90th birthday is coming up and they will all be there. I am dreading it. I had to make the choice to not let my son know that we are having a party for his Grandma, because I’m afraid of what might happen between him and them.

    Uncle Nick is very proud of how his two sons protected him (6’3″) from my son (5’5″). I wish I could go back in time and erase that wedding night from my memory.

    Thanks Rhonda, this has been very theraputic for me to put down in words what occupies my mind about my family.


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