Family Estrangements....the pain of it all!

twinkles

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Apr 10, 2017
Location
georgia
radish rose i have no idea--i know her husband is achoholic and there is no telling what he has told her--she knows he lies but i guess she is with him for security
 

WhatInThe

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Joined
Dec 29, 2013
Normal family-pppffffttt. That's part of the issue because too many use media or other families as a model what theirs should be(no chance). But they get frustrated and some it turns to anger if things simply don't go the way they should or thought they would. False and/or unreasonable expectation is why many people have the issues includinh substance abuse they have today.

I have 50 plus year old family that constantly touts well this is how so and so does it like a child telling their parents what they did in school that day.

Sometimes blunt honesty or separation is the best policy. Detach as they say or simply don't expect squat.

It's brutal, I thought the silver hair years would be the easiest domestically. Actually the exact opposite in many cases because decades of suppressed issues and opinions have come rushing to the surface with a vengence. Extended life span and more capability in the second half of ones life is too much all unaddressed issues in a family. Time allows them to breakout.
 

Repondering

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Joined
May 29, 2019
Location
Mid west USA
My oldest brother married his pregnant girlfriend 54 years ago and my parents never stopped loathing her or the daughter they had. Now that brother and his wife are both dead and so are my parents....but before they died they disinherited my brother's daughter and her daughter out of the will.
My other brother's wife was shunned by our parents as well. She and her husband, my brother, refused all contact with our parents and me these last 15 years.
Now that one remaining brother and I are the only ones left of the original 5 family members. We're on speaking terms but his wife and I aren't. He refused to attend Mom's funeral five months ago. Our other brother's daughter and granddaughter, the ones cut out of the will, refuse all contact with us.
I nursed Mom and dad through their final years. And now I've inherited the house, the 12 acres it's on, everything in it, the bank accounts, the investment portfolios and the big prize, the farm....which brings me a tidy passive income.
If I had to do it over again, I think I'd have walked away from our parents like my 2 brothers did. Living a life away from my parents' toxic household might have been preferable to being the "loyal' son who got the material goodies.
 

Ronni

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Aug 22, 2018
Location
Nashville TN
My sister disowned both my brother and me. I'm not sure why she stopped talking to my brother. She disowned me for a variety of reasons. My brother and I remained close until his death. I know my Mum would have been horrified at what my sister did if she'd still been alive, she was such a sweet, inclusive person and never had a bad word to say about anyone. Our house when I was little was filled with love and kindness.

I have always tried to maintain good relationships with people. The only person I've completely cut out of my life is my abusive ex. Even with him though, once I left him and the dust settled, I tried to maintain a civil relationship with him for the sake of the kids. It was hit and miss for a while, but got really bad after our son nosedived into his addiction, and my ex blamed me 100% for that, because I was "too permissive" and "mollycoddled" him. My son was an adult and out of the house by the time he started using heavily, so I'm not sure what he thought I was doing.

But my ex also blamed the oldest boy for the fact that I wanted to leave him. The oldest was living across the country 2,500 miles away, so I'm not sure how he was responsible for the demise of the marriage. See a pattern here? Yup. Nothing was EVER my ex's fault!

Anyway, other than him, I've maintained close relationships with all the kids, grandkids, extended family as much as possible.
 

WhatInThe

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Dec 29, 2013
One of the things I notice in certain families is that were certain people pass on the poop really starts to fly. Maybe some are diplomatic out of respect or the deceased was the reason they maintain any type of relationship.

The most surprising here is that an 50+ adult child abandoned a surviving parent in less than 6 months after the other died. I guess it was years of suppressed issues and it does take two to argue/fight etc. Took about another 1/2 year before communication picked up. The parent had several medical evenst in which the adult child refused to help out.

Can't emphasize this enough. There are unaddressed and suppressed issues and if they are never dealt with they will come out and affect decisions. But those issues could've been cause for estrangement or banishment decades ago. Everyone is worried about being viewed upon as 'normal' and if they banished or disowned a family member decades ago that would've upset their perception about themselves.
 

Ronni

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Aug 22, 2018
Location
Nashville TN
Can't emphasize this enough. There are unaddressed and suppressed issues and if they are never dealt with they will come out and affect decisions. But those issues could've been cause for estrangement or banishment decades ago. Everyone is worried about being viewed upon as 'normal' and if they banished or disowned a family member decades ago that would've upset their perception about themselves.
I agree completely.

It's one of the primary reasons why I have always emphasized open and honest communication within my nuclear family. My kids were never "seen but not heard." I always encouraged them to talk openly about what was bothering them, even if it were something negative towards me, as long as they were respectful about it. I had no problem apologizing if I could see from their perspective that something I did or said was off, and if I didn't feel like it was, I'd thank them for their honesty and we'd search for some common ground or a compromise. Sometimes too, I just had to lay down the law, because I am after all the parent! They, like most kids, weren't happy, but there was enough respect paid to THEIR points of view and issues and concerns that it never really got too bad. And as adults they seem to have taken these lessons and applied the to their own relationships with significant others and children.

I think it's a primary reason why we remain very close as a family. There are no hidden agendas, no simmering but unspoken resentments, no suppressed issues. We've certainly been through enough trials by fire to have broken down as a family is it were going to happen. I'm proud of my kids for their communication and problem solving skills.
 

Olivia

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Dec 16, 2017
Location
Hawaii
At one time my extended family on my dad's side were "close". It was really because of my grandmother. After she died we never really got together again. Nothing major happened. We just drifted apart. Although at the beginning my mom and my grandmother didn't get along and there were some tense times. I think really more of a cultural thing, between my mom being an extroverted European and my dad's Japanese mother having to bear the idea of her oldest son bringing home a Caucasian wife. But don't be fooled. Japanese women can be just as feisty, if not even more so. Every child no fault of their own gets born into these kind of things.

So true, now that I think about it. Normal families? :pfff:
 

WhatInThe

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Dec 29, 2013
I agree completely.

It's one of the primary reasons why I have always emphasized open and honest communication within my nuclear family. My kids were never "seen but not heard." I always encouraged them to talk openly about what was bothering them, even if it were something negative towards me, as long as they were respectful about it. I had no problem apologizing if I could see from their perspective that something I did or said was off, and if I didn't feel like it was, I'd thank them for their honesty and we'd search for some common ground or a compromise. Sometimes too, I just had to lay down the law, because I am after all the parent! They, like most kids, weren't happy, but there was enough respect paid to THEIR points of view and issues and concerns that it never really got too bad. And as adults they seem to have taken these lessons and applied the to their own relationships with significant others and children.

I think it's a primary reason why we remain very close as a family. There are no hidden agendas, no simmering but unspoken resentments, no suppressed issues. We've certainly been through enough trials by fire to have broken down as a family is it were going to happen. I'm proud of my kids for their communication and problem solving skills.
One of the biggest examples of not dealing with the obvious are drug and alcohol abuse issues. Some call it tough love etc but at a certain point family members in particular have to call out the drug addicts and alcoholics early on. But good old fashioned denial says 'not in my family', not me syndrome etc. I've seen these issues tolerated too long in numerous families and not only is it detrimental to the addicts & alkies but it takes a toll on the sober/rest of the family. Time and age don't correct things or make them better. There's a reason for expressions like 'nip it in the bud'
 

Ronni

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Aug 22, 2018
Location
Nashville TN
One of the biggest examples of not dealing with the obvious are drug and alcohol abuse issues. Some call it tough love etc but at a certain point family members in particular have to call out the drug addicts and alcoholics early on. But good old fashioned denial says 'not in my family', not me syndrome etc. I've seen these issues tolerated too long in numerous families and not only is it detrimental to the addicts & alkies but it takes a toll on the sober/rest of the family. Time and age don't correct things or make them better. There's a reason for expressions like 'nip it in the bud'
One of my sons is an addict. I’m not sure if you knew that or not. That’s one of the “trials by fire” issues we’ve dealt with as a family. He’s been C&S almost 5 years now, just for today, the longest stretch by several years. I won’t say it’s permanent because he will always be an addict, but I’m proud of his progress and dedication to his sobriety. He was in heavy addiction for 10 plus years, and ramped up to that point for 5 before that. He ultimately alienated every one of his siblings, all his friends, and eventually me too, because I finally realized that my “help” was just enabling the drug use. As a family we had many blowups, there was a lot of denial and much turmoil and wretchedness. There’s a reason that addiction is called a family disease!! Throughout all of it we just kept communicating, to my son and to each other, and even he, in his moments of clarity, tried to remain connected.

We’ve come through all of that closer than ever.
 

WhatInThe

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Dec 29, 2013
One of my sons is an addict. I’m not sure if you knew that or not. That’s one of the “trials by fire” issues we’ve dealt with as a family. He’s been C&S almost 5 years now, just for today, the longest stretch by several years. I won’t say it’s permanent because he will always be an addict, but I’m proud of his progress and dedication to his sobriety. He was in heavy addiction for 10 plus years, and ramped up to that point for 5 before that. He ultimately alienated every one of his siblings, all his friends, and eventually me too, because I finally realized that my “help” was just enabling the drug use. As a family we had many blowups, there was a lot of denial and much turmoil and wretchedness. There’s a reason that addiction is called a family disease!! Throughout all of it we just kept communicating, to my son and to each other, and even he, in his moments of clarity, tried to remain connected.

We’ve come through all of that closer than ever.
Do the siblings treat him any different. I've seen siblings go at hard over the years and just when you thought things were better than was it we now have 50 plus year old siblings who refuse to talk to each other for about 5 years. I will say some of the fights in front of other family were fierce at times. I think that battle was lost long ago. If they're in a good mood someone might get a greeting card. The parents relationship is strained with both of them but it's better with the addict. I regret to say the parent are a major contributor-at least one life time addict and another child that wants nothing to do with them. Everyone has gray hair; one would think they could get over it but I know with myself there are lines once crossed there is no going back.
 

Ronni

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Aug 22, 2018
Location
Nashville TN
Do the siblings treat him any different. I've seen siblings go at hard over the years and just when you thought things were better than was it we now have 50 plus year old siblings who refuse to talk to each other for about 5 years. I will say some of the fights in front of other family were fierce at times. I think that battle was lost long ago. If they're in a good mood someone might get a greeting card. The parents relationship is strained with both of them but it's better with the addict. I regret to say the parent are a major contributor-at least one life time addict and another child that wants nothing to do with them. Everyone has gray hair; one would think they could get over it but I know with myself there are lines once crossed there is no going back.
They were very slow to trust their brother again. Grayson had in been in recovery a few times, gone to various court mandated programs, went through drug court, attended several rehabs, and relapsed each time, so we were all wary of his latest recovery. Over time, they became more comfortable, and each at their own pace let him back into their lives again, a bit at a time. There was a period when my daughter wouldn't let him into her house. A time when one of his brothers refused all communication from him. Everyone was wary of this latest recovery, and wouldn't reconnect at all initially because it could easily have been just the latest recovery/relapse cycle.

It was really hard for me as his Mom to stay out of those sibling relationships. I wanted so badly to fix things, to be the mediator, to help repair the damage. But I knew, rationally, that it wasn't mine to control, wasn't my job, wasn't my responsibility. Grayson made his amends to his siblings, as he could, reached out to help them with whatever issues they were having with cars (he's an excellent mechanic,) help with moving, any grunt work that required muscle, handyman stuff....just whatever he could do to help them in their lives, as a way to make amends for all the help they each gave him over the years and he wasted.

I think I mentioned, it's been almost 5 years now that he's been clean, and the kids are all in close touch again. Grayson attends all the nieces/nephews birthday parties, we as a family get together frequently, he goes to one of the boys' monthly poker nights, helps his sister with house repairs etc. He's fully back in their lives, but it has taken a lot of dedicated work......a willingness to slowly extend trust again on the part of the siblings, and a hefty dose of humility and desire to make amends on Grayson's part.
 

WhatInThe

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Dec 29, 2013
They were very slow to trust their brother again. Grayson had in been in recovery a few times, gone to various court mandated programs, went through drug court, attended several rehabs, and relapsed each time, so we were all wary of his latest recovery. Over time, they became more comfortable, and each at their own pace let him back into their lives again, a bit at a time. There was a period when my daughter wouldn't let him into her house. A time when one of his brothers refused all communication from him. Everyone was wary of this latest recovery, and wouldn't reconnect at all initially because it could easily have been just the latest recovery/relapse cycle.

It was really hard for me as his Mom to stay out of those sibling relationships. I wanted so badly to fix things, to be the mediator, to help repair the damage. But I knew, rationally, that it wasn't mine to control, wasn't my job, wasn't my responsibility. Grayson made his amends to his siblings, as he could, reached out to help them with whatever issues they were having with cars (he's an excellent mechanic,) help with moving, any grunt work that required muscle, handyman stuff....just whatever he could do to help them in their lives, as a way to make amends for all the help they each gave him over the years and he wasted.

I think I mentioned, it's been almost 5 years now that he's been clean, and the kids are all in close touch again. Grayson attends all the nieces/nephews birthday parties, we as a family get together frequently, he goes to one of the boys' monthly poker nights, helps his sister with house repairs etc. He's fully back in their lives, but it has taken a lot of dedicated work......a willingness to slowly extend trust again on the part of the siblings, and a hefty dose of humility and desire to make amends on Grayson's part.
Good to hear. Sounds like he cleaned up before he hit mid life. When you have senior addicts & alcoholics forgiving isn't so easy and there aren't events like a child's birthday to help bring people together. And that's the frustrating thing one would figure people in their senior years would have progressed, matured and have a lot more wisdom but they never adapted or evolved which is exactly why they no or poor family relationships. Sometimes the line crossed is age and time.
 

sjm1027

New member
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Jan 2, 2017
Location
Boston
Family estrangements are far more common than people imagine. We are conditioned to believe otherwise by fictional tales of perfect families in books, movies and TV shows. Real life relationships aren't always pretty or smooth.

What always surprises me is how many people believe themselves to be victims of somebody else's choice of estrangement. We each bear substantial responsibility for how our relationships work out, whether we want to admit it or not. I say that as someone who chose estrangement from one family member and was cut off by another. I know the hows and whys of both, and what part I played in where we wound up.
This is spot on. This is more the normal now. It’s a 50/50 give and take. If you don’t get some sort of % back it’s time to focus somewhere else. It does hurt a bit but life is to short.
 

911

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Joined
Oct 12, 2014
Location
USA
Some people see family estrangement as a good thing while others see it as a tragedy. Families that can’t come together and respect one another should probably just stay away from each other. I know families that still have large reunions and get along with one another quite easily. There’s always some gossip being spread about one or two of the relatives and there may be a black sheep in the family, but all in all, some families are just very close knit and would have it no other way.
 

Keesha

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Mar 28, 2018
Location
Canada
My oldest brother married his pregnant girlfriend 54 years ago and my parents never stopped loathing her or the daughter they had. Now that brother and his wife are both dead and so are my parents....but before they died they disinherited my brother's daughter and her daughter out of the will.
My other brother's wife was shunned by our parents as well. She and her husband, my brother, refused all contact with our parents and me these last 15 years.
Now that one remaining brother and I are the only ones left of the original 5 family members. We're on speaking terms but his wife and I aren't. He refused to attend Mom's funeral five months ago. Our other brother's daughter and granddaughter, the ones cut out of the will, refuse all contact with us.
I nursed Mom and dad through their final years. And now I've inherited the house, the 12 acres it's on, everything in it, the bank accounts, the investment portfolios and the big prize, the farm....which brings me a tidy passive income.
If I had to do it over again, I think I'd have walked away from our parents like my 2 brothers did. Living a life away from my parents' toxic household might have been preferable to being the "loyal' son who got the material goodies.
So clearly caring for these two narcissistic toxic parents wasn’t worth the 12 acre farm, various bank accounts and investment portfolios ?
I really feel for your brothers. How sad.


What I don’t understand is why did you estrange your brothers also? Did you follow what your parents did to win reward with them or did you just happen to feel the same way as they did about your brothers?

Looking back on all this, do you think that was fair of your parents to give preferential treatment to you because they didn’t like their daughter in laws?

Sorry for all the questions. Your parents sound very similar to mine and I’d like to learn how you handled it.

Do you think your parents favoured you because you had no girlfriend or spouse to contend with so it was easier for them?

Did your parents go into a nursing home or have any other long term healthcare or did you actually care for them both all on your own?

How difficult was that for you?

What’s makes you say you wished you’d done as your brothers had and just walked away?
 

Repondering

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May 29, 2019
Location
Mid west USA
@ Keesha: Mom was in a nursing home for the last two months of her life when she was in hospice care. I did everything necessary before that.
It was very difficult.
I didn't have a spouse and they were glad for it, it made things simpler for them. Simplicity could work for us, complexity was outside of our skill sets.

I didn't deliberately estrange my brothers. The mutual estrangement was another expression of our family's sheer ignorance of how to communicate and respect one another .

If I'd walked away and lived my life like my brothers did, I might have had a life rather than being a servant. And now I'm facing old age alone.

The house is on the 12 acres. The farm is 320 acres.
 

WhatInThe

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Joined
Dec 29, 2013
Sometimes there are valid reasons that some kin/relative are universally DISliked. Think about it. Just make sure that
you're not one of them.
So true. There's blame shifting and like any other group, organization or peers the dissenter is disliked.

Here if you don't like to drink, go to bars or agree those to that do one is considered a party pooper. The drunks in the family try to rationalize their drinking by ocassion, their 'knowledge and appreciation of the finer things in life' ie expensive alcoholic beverages and restaurants. In the meantime all of them have suffered and ignored the consequences of alcoholism including immediate family that wants nothing to with them. They are literally alone and/or ostracized themselves.
 

Capt Lightning

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Oct 15, 2013
Location
Banffshire, Scotland
I remember a colleague once saying that his parents had "Four only children". I know exactly what he meant - my eldest brother died some years back and as far as I know, my surviving sister, brother and myself have had no contact with one another for many years. No fall outs, we just followed very different paths.

Over 30 years ago, there was a miners' strike in the UK. This caused great division in many communities where some workers were determined to hold out for their demands and others felt their first duty was towards their families and continued working. As a result many families became (and still remain) divided over what happened. I used to think this was stupid, but I think I'm starting to understand the depth of feeling amongst those involved.

This is from a recent newspaper article...
Mrs Woodhead, who lives in the village of Blidworth, says some people still cross the road when they see her coming. "Some people haven't spoken to each other since it started," she says. "It goes deeper than deep.
"There are people here that will not go into a certain pub or a certain shop because 'that's where the scabs went'. People made up their minds in the first month of the strike and stuck to it." (Scab - slang for a person who doesn't support the strike)
Mrs Woodhead, now 68, remembers how during the strike, she borrowed plastic cups from a local school for the strikers' children to use. When she handed them back washed and cleaned, she says some of the wives of those who were still working threw them in the bin.
 

charry

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Jul 9, 2014
Location
UK
when i was younger we were close to all the cousins and aunts and uncles......now, well!..... what a change......i have nothing to do with my 5 siblings, and we hardly see our 4 sons and family .....
 

OneEyedDiva

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Aug 4, 2016
Location
Nrw Jersey
My immediate family is pretty close so far. But my Dad's family hated my Mother because my parents got married when they were only 16yrs old. So when my brother and me and my sister came along they hated us too. We were never invited to have dinner at my grandparents even though all the rest of the family was.We would visit on Christmas and all the grandchildren would get presents but not us. Now years later most of my cousins don't speak to one another. In each family they turn against one another. I don't know how my Mom tolerated it,but she did for my Dad's sake.
That's so sad Sassy! Well you endured it and hopefully now your life is a happy one, especially now that your son has apologized for his behavior. I feel so bad for those who have suffered through dysfunctional family drama.
And to the OP, GeorgiaH...I wish things could be better for you. The way your son treats you must be truly heartbreaking. Maybe one day he'll come to his senses as well.
 

WhatInThe

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Dec 29, 2013
when i was younger we were close to all the cousins and aunts and uncles......now, well!..... what a change......i have nothing to do with my 5 siblings, and we hardly see our 4 sons and family .....
Sometimes families just grow apart which is natural in many cases. I think the issues occur when people try to keep to status quo ignoring the fact that most people wind with different jobs, schedules and priorities-things and people change. It's not just about ignoring tradition, invites etc. Sometimes a relationship is revived out of the blue or unexpectedly and they frequently can be the most fruitful.
 

WhatInThe

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Dec 29, 2013
..... Families that can’t come together and respect one another should probably just stay away from each other. ....
The key is respect each other because if one respected the other they wouldn't be playing games, gossiping, trying find ways to manipulate or con family. Prime example are money issues.

Setting aside the actual request for money are the bs lobbying efforts/con games that precede the money 'request'. Also people who talk money, they want to know/pry into another family members business. Here we have a family is who is nosey to the point of constantly prying asking aunts, uncles, cousins and rich friends about their financial affairs wether it be the cost of a car or what they might have inherited.-that is disrespect. He has lost lady friends for talking 'business' with their family because they knew he would eventually would request money in some form. He is constantly looking for money and partners for his business schemes, ideas etc. He has at least one bankruptcy and is always angling/playing people for money. I don't know what family inherited other than maybe a house yet he will directly ask what did so and so get if not a family member directly to their face they only see during the holidays-what did you get?

Talking money and details to non close family is disrespect.
 
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Keesha

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Mar 28, 2018
Location
Canada
@ Keesha: Mom was in a nursing home for the last two months of her life when she was in hospice care. I did everything necessary before that.
It was very difficult.
I didn't have a spouse and they were glad for it, it made things simpler for them. Simplicity could work for us, complexity was outside of our skill sets.

I didn't deliberately estrange my brothers. The mutual estrangement was another expression of our family's sheer ignorance of how to communicate and respect one another .

If I'd walked away and lived my life like my brothers did, I might have had a life rather than being a servant. And now I'm facing old age alone.

The house is on the 12 acres. The farm is 320 acres.
Thank you for answering such personal questions. I really appreciate it.

The way you wrote your posts really touched me. I’m not sure if your mother was ever diagnosed with a personality disorder but people who do have them are more difficult to get along with and many share similar characteristics.

Borderlines split when under stress and will feel like they are being attacked so split as a coping mechanism. They demonize the people who they aren’t getting along with and tolerate the ones they do. They are incapable of loving anyone including themselves and everyone is disposable. They are master manipulators using guilt and shame to control others including family.

I get the disinherited thing. That’s one more way to punish and hurt the person one last time even after they are gone from their grave.
That’s how toxic their hate is.

Stunned would seem an appropriate response to being disinherited but if you can’t be used, what good are you? No contact is usually what most professionals suggest in dealing with these types .

Your statement:
Quote: “Living a life away from my parents ‘toxic household’ might have been preferable to being the ‘loyal’ son who got the material goodies.” End quote.

That was profound and sent shivers down my spine. I do understand that these types of personalities have a difficult enough time handling family member; spouses of the children can easily become outcasts.

Sorry for how I worded some of my questions?
Reading it over, I don’t think it came across the way I intended.

Communication is stressful and difficult at the best of times so I can really relate to that also.
Keeping things simple is smart. Less to overwhelm.

Quote: “The mutual estrangement was another expression of our family’s sheer ignorance of how to communicate and respect one another.” Unquote.

That was brilliantly worded and again, I can relate. I truly empathize with you in your situation and thank you for having the courage to let us into some of your toxic family dynamics.

I have great admiration for your decision to care for your aging mother at the cost of becoming a servant.
It must have been difficult. ❤
 


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