How do you put up with your family?
January 10, 2007 10:52 AM Subscribe
I am looking for advice on how to tactfully deal with difficult family members when it comes to my lifestyle. You know there's
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A brief description of the situation: I am a 30-something married, happy, vegetarian, laid-back, child-less (and wanting to stay that way), woman. My husband and I moved away from my home state a few years back. My parents are divorced, my father and his mother (my grandmother) live together (she's up there in age & would never consider senior housing). My mother's been out of the picture for a long time. My father has always been quiet, cynical & negative. My grandmother is used to getting her way all the time, and can complain about anything.
It was quite nice to move away from them. Not that I don't love them, or want to spend a little time with them, but they made me feel obligated to visit when I lived just a few miles from them. The time spent with them was awkard, mostly listening to my grandmother complain.
Anyway, I did my family duty & was very understanding and accepting of them, out of respect and my unshakable sense of family obligation and not upsetting others.
Coincidentally, my husband and I moved near my older sister and her family. Living near them has been ok. I love seeing my nephew and niece, both young toddlers. My sister and her husband are living in a lot of dept & seem to always be buying more. They're quite a mess - but I wouldn't dare comment on their lifestyle because it's not my place. I spend time with them, but it's getting increasingly more difficult because my sister always seems to have mean things to say to me.
To complicate matters, my father and grandmother sold their house and bought one here, near us. I am assuming it was to be closer to family. I think he feels we are responsible for making him happy. Now they complain about living here like it's our fault for not telling them everyting they might possibly have not liked about the area. My father will never seek therapy, and I believe he's been mildly depressed for most of his life.
So now there's obviously much more time for family get-togethers, which is fine, but I'm getting sick of comments made to me. Everyone wants me to have kids and they just don't understand that I don't ever want them. They think something's wrong with that. I get remarks for being vegetarian. "What? you won't eat something cooked in chicken broth? that's taking it too far." Mind you - I do a lot of the cooking & my husband always cooks a meat dish for them. My sister doesn't know how to cook & my father won't, and my grandmother's too old.
And my sister loves to try to put me down in front of everyone. She tries to imply that i'm selfish because I don't have kids, or that i have a drinking problem (I definitely don't!), or that I'm "smoking doobies" and cigarettes - (I have no clue where she gets this from, or why she wants to bring it up in front of my dad - is she trying to get me in trouble? She's freakin' 41 years old!.)
Anyway, this is rather long so I'll try to get to my questions - My husband and I are planning on moving far away in about 10 months. We have not told anyone & won't until our plans are more set. I think that will really upset my father & I think it will make my sister jealous to the point that she will shoot down our plans at any chance she gets. We'll end up seeing them at least once a year after the move - and that's how I want it. That and phone calls every month. They obviously want more. So - how do you ease off the family without upsetting them? And how do you ignore everyone else's opionions and pressures and go about your life without feeling obligated or guilty for pretty much wanting to abandon your family? Am I being harsh? I just want to do my thing and be happy with my husband! Is my family poison??
Thanks for reading - and sorry about the length!