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"Only 51% of US parents have an "amicable" relationship w/ACs": Smithsonian mag

Started by fantine, October 17, 2013, 09:14:42 am

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gettingoldandcranky

fantine - finding the upcoming holidays hard too.  want so much to have our "happy family" but it isn't working out at all.  dil is attached to her mom and we are completely left out of everything.  my grandbabes look at me as a stranger.  don't understand how or why - does she think at all how cruel this is?  she is civil to my face but does anything to block a visit.  what is the point of this?
trying hard to move past and enjoy my life w/other family and friends.  but the empty spot is always there and i am dreading the holidays. what little we will get will just leave me wishing for more.

Cranky Pants

I too am already hitting the "Mute" button on the TV when the holly, jolly ads hit the airways.

I'm going to ignore and forget the holidays as much as possible.  I'm going to find a nearby church and ask if they can use my help to serve a meal or sweep a floor on Christmas Day.  I'll bask in my usual celebrations of December 26th, one of my favourite days of the year.

Don't sit around waiting for people who are ignoring you to keep it up.  Keep busy, make plans, and most of all, help others, and continue spreading the spirit of Christmas from yourself even if others are spreading it your way. 

Comfort and joy.........comfort yourself in any way that you can, and add joy to the lives of others however you can.  Family doesn't have to be blood family, every person you help along is part of mankind, the whole human family.

CP

PS. Those folks in the Philippines could use a hand, send a donation, a basket, get a neighbourhood drive going to collect blankets, socks, and toys for the kids.  The people who survived the recent typhoon aren't looking forward to Christmas either, I'll bet.  Make a difference, no matter how small. 

fantine

Wow! I have never heard that Billy Graham quote before. Fantastic!

However, I would make one amendment to it. I"m not convinced that parents allow their children to be disrespectful. No matter how much of a kerfuffle we make and do everything in the world to implore better treatment, the DC make a conscious decision about how they are going to behave towards us.

Footloose

Hi Fantine,
While our AC do decide how to treat us, we encourage more of the same if we accept it and keep on taking it.  We teach others how to treat us based on our own actions that reflect our boundaries or lack there of...

"I'm going to end our visit because I have asked you not to use that language and to lower your volume around me but it continues.  I will call u next week and maybe we can have a clean conversation?"

No blame, no accusations just facts.   

fantine

Footloose ---

Have you actually used this talking point with your AC? If so, what kind of reaction did you get?

Fantine

Footloose

Hi Fantine,

It went over like a fart in church! LOL!  It was a big change in my behavior as I was previously trying to "take my crumbs" and get along so I might be included but found out that my personal boundaries were almost non- existent.

Their first reaction was "change back"  and I did not.  It lead to separation for over a year w/ my DS and almost a full year w/ other toxic fam members. 

Now, I am no more close to them as I was before but at least I am not mistreated.  All of them have come around and now accept the new me, except for my youngest sis who refuses to end her grudge.  I always thought we were close but only when I was able to follow her lead and be a push over.  Sadly it was what other ppl could get from me in time, attention and resources. 

My FOO actually did me a huge favor by being difficult.  it made me ask myself why I stay around these pple when I have so many loving relationships that actually enrich everyone's life involved, not just the other person. 

This forum, a good shrink and tons of self study have led to my emotional security.  To thy self be true?  We teach others how to treat us by our reaction or lack there of to their undesired behavior towards us.

Our changes my in fact end some of our relationships for a period of time or even forever.  In ending unhealthy connections,  we are now open to others and can spend time in healthy relationships and have a better life. 

I still am disappointed that the future family I expected doesn't look to be a possibility but keep hope that I will reconnect on my positive terms with these people.  If it never happens, I have trust that it is in my best interest.

You deserve relationships that give bac: Give and take w/ respect and love.  I always had different rules for friends vs family and have to be honest. I would NOT chose to be friends with a good number of my dysfunctional FOO.

fantine

Footloose,

I had to LOL at your opening sentence! :)) What a mental image!

You made a number of important comments and I thank you for sharing your ideas and thoughts with all of us. I was intrigued by your sentence that read: "I always thought we were close but only when I was able to follow her lead and be a push over" It reminded me of a couple of friendships I have had with women (not family) who also behaved this way. Interesting.

"I still am disappointed that the future family I expected doesn't look to be a possibility but keep hope that I will reconnect on my positive terms with these people.  If it never happens, I have trust that it is in my best interest." I am currently tangling with this realization myself. It's an ongoing and painful process, but if I honestly look at where I was in 2010, when DS moved out, I'm in a much better place now. Not healed by any definition of the word, but I'm doing a lot better than I was. Progress. Still a long way to go, but my nadir is definitely in my rearview mirror.

"I would NOT chose to be friends with a good number of my dysfunctional FOO." Truer words have never been spoken. Interestingly, the whole dynamic of familial obligations is a strange one. For many, such as my DS and other AC who are represented here, it's a license to treat parents (read: mothers) like garbage. Yet with friendships, it can sometimes be easier to make the break, as there is no blood tie. Still painful, but can be done.

Foot, keep sharing with us!
Fantine

Love Me Love Me Not

When we first began to have problems with our family, I did some research and some research shows that the numbers are even worse.Many parents feel a great deal of shame when put into this situation as if they have done something wrong, so are not truthful about the situation. There are many theories about why this is occurring. One theory is that we simply sacrificed too much for our children, gave them too much and therefore they have no respect for our feelings. This idea goes on to say that we put a lot of emphasis on material things by giving them just about everything they wanted when we could, thus they want only the best immediately when they get out on their own. And they want it all now. Many do not intend to start out in a starter home. They want a new home. They have no intention of helping their parents with anything. Their parents (and their parents money)are there for their convenience. In other words we raised a completely selfish generation.  I am not stating that this is my belief only that it is something I have read several times. What do you all think about this theory?

Another theory is that our AC have to all work, normally both parents, and they have so much to do raising their kids, making their marriages work, keeping their finances in order, etc that they do not want to take the time and/or do not have the energy to involve their parents in their lives. After all many have more education than their parents and do not really fit in with their friends. What do you think of this one?

If the trend continues, all I can say is that all parents had best be well prepared for a lonely old age and be prepared financially  ( not that we would't be anyway) to take care of all of our own needs or hire someone to help us.

Also if you are reading this and believe that this could never happen to you, you are wrong. it can and it does everyday to the best of parents.

Stilllearning

LMLMN...I think that I raised my DS to appreciate the value of a dollar.  He had to pay for many of the things some young adults take for granted.  However, I could not protect him from, or prepare him for, meeting someone who had managed to get everything handed to her on a silver platter.  She had a newer car than either myself or my DH drove.  Her cell phone bill was paid for by her parents in spite of the fact that they were stretched very thin.  The next thing I knew my DS was at my house contemplating out loud about how he would inherit it.  I still have not really processed this.  Not sure I really want to.  Who is this person????
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown

Pooh

Quote from: Love Me Love Me Not on November 17, 2013, 04:39:52 pm

Another theory is that our AC have to all work, normally both parents, and they have so much to do raising their kids, making their marriages work, keeping their finances in order, etc that they do not want to take the time and/or do not have the energy to involve their parents in their lives. After all many have more education than their parents and do not really fit in with their friends. What do you think of this one?



This theory I can't get on board with in my case, for two reasons.  Both myself and DS's Dad have always worked and still managed to fit in family times, on both sides.  And two, I might could go along with it, if it was both sides of the family that were being shunned.  In my case, it's simply a conscious decision they have made to not include my side of the family. 
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

fantine

"In my case, it's simply a conscious decision they have made to not include my side of the family. " Same here, pooh.

"Another theory is that our AC have to all work, normally both parents, and they have so much to do raising their kids, making their marriages work, keeping their finances in order, etc that they do not want to take the time and/or do not have the energy to involve their parents in their lives." This is an excuse. You make time for people and things in your life that are important to you, whether that's NFL, FB, shopping, travel, whatever. You'll *find* the time if it's important.

And I don't want this to come off as braggadocious, but I also feel the need to counter the argument that:  "After all many have more education than their parents and do not really fit in with their friends." I have a terminal degree --- the chances that my kid is going to best me in the education department is impossible. If my DS dislikes my friends, which he does, it's simply because he doesn't like being around thinkers. I know this is true because he's said so. Sadly, I have also seen a number of my colleagues who have been in the same situation.

Further, this line of thinking directly refutes the very notion of loyalty and love. My parents barely have three years of college between them. We don't have a lot in common, but I still love them and stay in touch with them as much as possible. Why can I do it but my kid can't? Simple. I choose to, and he chooses *not* to.

LMLMN, please know that none of this is an attack on you. I know you are just presenting theories for us to dissect and discuss, and thank you very much for that! It's just I (and probably many of us here) have heard these excuses a thousand times. They don't hold water and it's time that we call them out for what they are: garbage. :(

Footloose

They're just not that into us. It's been said many times but is still truth. I have always believed people will find time for what they think is important. It is OK that I do not matter to them so long as I matter to me. I found that by accepting this, I opened up my time and heart to others who treat me right, right now.

Stilllearning

I think both parents and ACs have a hard time adjusting to the new adult to adult relationship.  Any comment made by the parents (even opinions in a discussion) have much more impact on the AC until the AC actually accepts that he/she is an adult and the parents' opinion is actually only an opinion and not a mandate.  The parents also have to adjust to the fact that the AC is in charge of their own life and any mistakes the AC makes are his/hers and are not up to the parents to 'fix'.  This applies once the AC is self sufficient and if the AC is not self sufficient and is still doing things the parent disagrees with then it is time for the AC to be self sufficient and the parent needs to withdraw the help.  IMHO   :)
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown

freespirit

Fantine, when I take a look at our friends, and their family relationships, I would say this statistic correlates pretty much with the Smithsonian statistics.

On the other hand, if our neighbors look over the fence when we have a family gathering, they probably think; oh my, what a happy family. Lol  ;)....We all act a little. It also helps having small children running around between us. It reminds us to behave and watch our mouths. But on a one to one basis,...it's sometimes a completely different story.

But, I think it helps to sometimes simply act like everything is all right, because sometimes, at least on some occasions,  that acting can turn into reality. Thanks to the acting genes, we still get together for  birthdays and holidays. So although, my relationship with my youngest son is far from good, we sometimes pretend it's good,...and for now, I'm satisfied with that.

If someone would ask me if I have an amicable relationship with my son, I guess I would say yes, just because we sometimes act   like we do.....but the truth is;  well, it's all here in this wonderful site. Your right about Luise being able to find a whole lot more folks for this forum!
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
            -- Michel de Montaigne

fantine

"If someone would ask me if I have an amicable relationship with my son, I guess I would say yes, just because we sometimes act   like we do..." --- oh, absolutely, Foot! And I'll be the first to admit, I lie my face off when someone asks me how my relationship is w/DS! Esp. since I have only lived in this town for 15 mos and no one here knows my history, there's no way I'm going into all the background of who/what/when/where/why . . . I work hard to keep my professional and personal lives separate.

And here's another thing --- one of the support people at my place of employment said that her DH routinely calls his mother the B word. (And this wife, my colleague, who is about 15 years younger than me, has told me in the past that her DH has a very strained relationship w/the mother.) When she repeated this fact yet again last week because she would not pay their cell phone *and* car insurance (the couple is right at 30 and have been on their own for a number of years), I told her I would have a hard time sharing a bed with a man who would talk that way about his own mother. She said it was a complex relationship, which I'm sure it is (and it *always* is!), but unless the mother is Joan Crawford, I'm going to bat for the mom. No mother deserves that.