Relationships: When Family (or Any Relationship) Hurts

Relationships: When Family Hurts

Family. Love them or love them not, there’s often a limit to what you can do with the difficult ones. You can’t live with them and you can’t make them join the circus. When there’s a lifetime of emotional investment involved, it’s likely that any response will hurt and will require a huge push, whether it’s walking away or fighting for the relationship.

Even if you decide that the price of being in the relationship is too high, it’s not always easy to leave. Sometimes it’s just not an option. Whether you’re on your way out or bracing for more, here are some ways to protect yourself from the ones who scrape you:

  1. Don’t let anyone else’s behaviour change who you are.

    Be dignified. Be brilliant. Be kind. Don’t let anyone reduce the best of you. 

  2. Make it clear this isn’t personal.

    Insecurity is at the heart of a lot of broken relationships. Insecure people will feel attacked even when no attack is made. If this is a relationship you care about, do whatever you can to help the other person feel safe and secure. Insecurity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. People who are insecure will often respond to the world as though it’s going to hurt them. They’ll be cold, they’ll judge, they’ll take the first strike – all to protect themselves. In response, the world walks away, confirming the insecure person’s view that the world just isn’t safe.  

    Show them you’re different. Let them know that you don’t mean anything personally, that you appreciate their point of view and that you want to understand how they feel. (You might need to say it a few times!) Whatever you do, don’t blame. If you need to point out something they’re doing wrong, end it by letting them know that the relationship is important to you and you want to work on it. The more positive you can be the better:  ‘Every time I see you, you’re pointing out something else you don’t like about me. I really want to have a good relationship with you but it’s really hard when I feel like everything I do is judged harshly by you. Can we try and do things a little differently?’

  3. Now remind yourself not to take it personally.

    People will judge you, hurt you, put you down and try to break you – and most often, this will have nothing at all to do with you. 

    You don’t have to stay around and you don’t have to invest, but if leaving the relationship isn’t an option, seeing someone’s behaviour for what it is – a defence against a world that has hurt them once too many times – will help to protect you from the pain that comes from taking things personally.

  4. Find compassion

     Difficult people weren’t born that way. Generally the way they are responding to you is the way they have learned to respond to the world to keep themselves safe. It might be an ‘adversarial’ ‘I’ll get you before you get me,’ response. It might stem from having to control everything in their environment because they’ve learnt (somehow) that unpredictability  isn’t safe. Perhaps they have no idea of their impact on people and all they know is that relationships seem to fall like broken toy soldiers around them. Just because it’s painfully clear to you what they do, doesn’t mean it is to them.  

    There may be little you can do to change the relationship, but you might just be able to change the way it affects you. Feeling compassion is important because of the way it changes things for you. Compassion is an empowering choice you can make when you feel like you don’t have any choice at all.

  5. Hold the space. For them and for you.

    Sometimes the best thing you can do for a relationship you care about is to hold steady and give the other person time and space to work out whatever it is they’re going through – while you stand still beside them. This is different to the space people give when they stay away for a while. 

    Let the person know that you’re not going anywhere, if that’s what they want, and that there doesn’t need to be any resolution for the moment. Do this without judging or criticising. It’s so difficult to be in an uncertain relationship but sometimes that’s exactly what the relationship needs – time to work through the uncertainty without fear of losing the relationship. There’s no need to hurry a relationship worth fighting for.

  6. Accept what is.

    One of the greatest sources of unhappiness is the chasm between what we want and what we have. The gap left behind by a family member who hurts you can be immense. What makes it worse is that the pain is often recurring, hitting you every time you’re with them. Who knows why some people have amazing families and some have families that drain them, but not everything makes sense. You don’t deserve a difficult relationship, but don’t allow yourself to be ruined by that. Acknowledge what it is, let go of what it isn’t, and flourish despite it.

  7. You don’t need to convince anyone. 

    You are not here to win anyone’s approval. None of us are. Run the race you want to run. You don’t need to convince anyone of your reasons, your direction, or why you’re telling some people get out of your way. Just go around them – it’s much easier.  That you are silent, still and choose not to engage does not mean they’re right. It means you just don’t have to prove anything anymore. Because you don’t. 

  8. It’s okay not to be with them. 

    They may be your family, but you don’t have to have a relationship with anyone you don’t want to. If it feels too painful, explore what you’re getting out of the relationship by staying. If you choose to have a relationship anyway, let that be a testament to the capacity you have to make your own decisions and act accordingly. Change the way you look at it. If you have to maintain contact, let this be your decision made in strength, not in defeat. Own the decision because it was the best thing to do for you, not because someone else decided it was the decision that needed to be made.

  9. Acknowledge their feelings, but don’t buy into them.

    Acknowledging how somebody feels doesn’t mean you agree with them. Saying something as simple as, ‘I understand you’re really angry but I  see things differently to you,’ or, ‘I know that’s how you see it and I have no interest in changing that. I have a different view,’ is a way to show that you’ve heard. Letting people know you’ve seen them and heard them is so powerful. Doing it and standing your ground without getting upset is even more so.

  10. Set your boundaries. And protect them fiercely.

    We teach people how to treat us. Imagine a visual boundary around yourself. You’ll feel when it’s being stepped over. Your skin might bristle, your chest might ache – it’s different for everyone but get to know what it feels like for you. When it happens, let the other person know. They might not care at all, or they might have no idea they’ve had that impact. If your boundary isn’t respected, walk away until it feels as though it’s been reset. Explain what you’ll tolerate and what you’ll do when that doesn’t happen. ‘I really want us to talk about this but if you’re going to scream at me, I’m going to walk away until you’re ready o stop,’ or, ‘I really want us to work through this but if you just keep telling me that I’m not good enough, I’m going to hang up the phone.’

  11. Is there anything you can do differently?

    You might be dealing with the most difficult person in the world, but that doesn’t have to stop you from being open to the things you might be able to change about yourself. Is there any truth at all in what that person is saying? Is there anything you’re doing that’s contributing to the problem? This isn’t about winning or losing but about honesty, learning and growth. Nobody is perfect – thankfully – and the best people to be around are the ones who are constantly open to their impact and their contribution to relationships, good or bad. That doesn’t mean you have to take the blame for the mess, but this might be an opportunity for your own wisdom to flourish. What can you learn from the situation? What can you learn from them? Nobody is all bad or all good. Take advantage of the opportunity. Focus on what you can learn. Ditch the rest.

  12. Leave with love

    This is important. If you walk away from family don’t let the final words be angry ones. You never know what the future holds. However angry or hurt you are, death has a way of bringing up guilt and regret in the cleanest of relationships and forever is a long time not to have resolution. Anger is the one emotion that’s never pure. It’s always protecting another, more vulnerable one. Some common ones are fear, grief, insecurity, confusion. Tap into that and speak from there. That way, when you walk away, you’re much more likely to feel as though nothing has been left unsaid. Just because a relationship is ending, doesn’t mean it has to end angry. You don’t want to leave room for regret. Leave it with strength, dignity and love because that’s who you are. Trust me on this.

There will always be those whose love and approval comes abundantly and easily. They’re the keepers. As for the others, if the fight leaves you bruised, you’d have to question whether the relationship is worth it.

There will always be people who try to dim you. Sometimes this will be intentional and sometimes they will have no idea. You can’t change what people do but you can keep yourself safe and strong, just as you deserve to be.

222 Comments

Sonakshi

I am going through a very hard time with my sister. She has caused my family pain ever since I can remember even though she is just a child (18 now). She is dating the most disrespectful boy who has caused a million fights in my house. My parents have cried, I have cried and it has taken a huge toll on my mental health. And the saddest part is her & the bf keep defending their horrible actions. There is no sense of self awareness. They don’t see how much pain they have caused us. I am not a person to hate anyone, but I hate him to no bounds.
I have been there for my family my whole life. Always prioritising them, taking care of their emotions & being a safe space for them. I have given them more than I’ve received, emotionally. It has taken a huge huge toll on me. I need to realise that it is not my responsibility to heal everyone. I have emotional needs of my own that nobody seems to care about. My sister has completely abused my love for her, how I have been there with her through literally everything. This guy has blinded her to any kind of respect, compassion & empathy. I am disgusted and appalled by their actions. And their complete delusion of the situation, constantly defending themselves. I have to have boundaries and I am not completely exhausted being everyone’s punching bag. Let people, even if it’s my family, deal with their own issues. I need to take care of myself. It’s not fair to me at all, I know who I am and how much I have given to this family. I’m done now.

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Fells excluded

I’m having a hard time. I have a wonderful husband, but I feel my struggles are hindering his family relationship.
23 years ago his family needed help through the years. I wanted so badly to be excepted into the family, I did what I could. I even took his brothers daughter in to live with us.

Fast forward 20 years, I’m the outsider. Infact the brother who’s daughter lived with us excluded me from his wedding. It doesn’t sound like much. But when you have 7 siblings and 3 in laws, and you ask all but one to be part of your special day, it hurts when you’re the one not part of it. When you helped for years the best you could.
Besides that his brother called my husband the Monday before the wedding and said his to be bride and sisters were going to call that day to ask if I could help with the hall. I was so happy that I was finally going to be appart of family. Well the call never came. My husband came home from work that afternoon and asked if they called. I said no. He called his brother and his brother said well they choose to ask someone else. That broke my heart.

I cried for over a year. My husband asked his brother to come talk. His brother said he would and never did. It’s almost 3 years since they talked.

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Anonymous

I know exactly how you feel. My mother side of the family did not respect how I feel a certain way but my father side of the family does. And I find it confusing the way they think, the way they respond to things like if I was thinking about suicide I will always talk to my dad or anyone on his side, they understand but the others don’t.

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Kassandra

I’ve been hurt by my fathers side of the family because they enable him and allow me to be collateral damage. I won’t enable people I love so I won’t be around him by choice only as a courtesy to take my nieces and nephews to see him and his new wife that’s a few years older than me and is the main reason why I wont associate with my father. They both go after what they want no matter how they choose to get it even if they lie, steal, are verbally abusive. My fathers side of the family wants me to let things go back to normal. Be a Daddy Girl and go back to enabling him and her. I can’t associate with his side of the family because they keep trying to push me. I just want space and for them to stop expecting so much from me. They miss me. I don’t want them to. I only feel like a benefit to them and it’s clear they don’t respect me. They both know how I feel and they don’t see a problem.

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Xxxx

My brother says hurtful things to me.I had more marks than him in my college and university admissions tests and he just can’t stand that.I worked so hard to be who I’m but he disrespects me.He is jealous of me but how is it my fault.I never even cared about this stuff but he just can’t stand that I’m better at things than him.He says hurtful stuff which ruins my mental health.idk what do I do.

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Stella

The one of the most important thing in a relationship is respect and if their is no self respect in a relationship and understanding there is no use of it. I can only tell you that this is your life and u totally have the right who you want in your life work on yourself make your self proud by putting all your anger in your work and you will get better relationships than this it will not be like daddy and daughter one but it will have respect, support and understanding

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MTM

My mom has been hurt by our family, her mom, and half-siblings. She was hurt bad emotionally and has felt like they used her. I have a good relationship with my grandmother but I love my mom. I tried to stay away from it. I understand my mom is hurt and is lashing out at people because, as the article said, she is trying to prevent getting hurt and is seeing everyone as an enemy. But is kind of exhausting to being treated like shit because other people treated her like shit. I cannot say one thing that contradicts her because right away I am the enemy. I am against her or I am being in control by my grandmother. For example, we got back home from the trip where everything went down. Before I left to pick her up (she was in another country and I went to that country to pick her up), I left the house cleaned and my brothers stayed taking care of the house. When we came back, she started saying how dirty the house was and why I did not clean it well or that I did not clean it. (I was gone for four days to pick her up and traveled back with her. My brother’s made that mess in those 4 days but it was my fault). I felt hurt and told her I cleaned before I left but she just shut down and said I was against her. Then, in another instance she tells me I need to clean the bathroom and we need to buy Clorox and I should buy it the next day to clean the bathroom. Then I find her the next day cleaning the bathroom and she said that I don’t take the initiative to clean and she has to do everything herself. (but she told me I need to buy Clorox and that we will do it the next day.) When I mentioned what we agreed on previously, she told me I was being contradictory and that I am always against her and that “we are not the same” meaning she is the mother and I am the daughter so I should not talk back to her even when she is wrong. She keeps saying one thing, doing another, and then blaming me for me not doing things as she want. I know she is hurt, but she hurt me because of it. I have tried to be empathetic, to shut up and not talk back when she is wrong, but what about my feelings? I am good when I am on her side, but I am bad when I don’t think like her or agree with her. I have been thinking of moving out but if I do I know I’ll be painted as the bad child, that I abandoned her. When my brothers do something to her, she takes the anger on everyone even if they have not done anything to her, which ends up being me. I love my mom, but she is withering that love and making me hate her sometimes. I don’t want to be her punching bag, but I also don’t want her to feel alone when she has excommunicated with basically half of the family the last month. Her wound is new and I want to be there for her, but I cannot blindly be there for her either. I wish I could just leave the house and not care.

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Sakshi

Hi beautiful! First and foremost you have no idea how beautiful your heart is. You have no clue at all. Your emotions sentiments are so genuine. I could relate to it so much. I want to tell you it’s just a phase. It’ll pass. Bt as long as it’s there. I want you to find your piece of mind! That you can do by figuring out what makes you happy and if the situation doesn’t gets better, you can just think about yourself and move out becoz eventually you did Ur best and remember we need more kindness in the world and that requires people like you. You are beautiful inside out . Keep this up.

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theConfusedIntrovert

I have problems dealing with my family members (uncles and aunts). I have taken a life decision against their wishes. I am in love with someone and want to marry them but family members are against love marriages. They think I have made a wrong decision and that I betrayed them. Some people have stopped talking to me altogether. It’s difficult for me because they have been very supportive and kind to me always. Some of them have gone out of their ways to help me in other difficult situations. So I want their support and blessings in my marriage as well. I am confused as to what to do now

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jeanette

i feel sorry for you i have trouble aswell because my parents always think my 3 year old sister is more smarter and perfect than me and treats me diffrently which really hurts me.

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Anonymous

Your response made me feel somewhat better. Thank you so much. I needed it right now very deeply as I always be a cheerful and funny girls but when i am sad i just express my feelings without any filter but people only see how you are saying and not what you are saying. So in return they give me a more harsh reply and I feel like no one in this world understand me and try to understand me. It makes me feel so lonely but I always try to be positive and happy and I have full faith in GOD😊

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Linda

My younger brothers do not respect me and they say hurtful things and at times feel they don’t think there is any effect to anything they do. We have the same hobbies and I do love them.they just hurt me too much. The other day was the last straw but I feel I have no spine for anything I do to mean anything. I don’t want things to be weird and change but I don’t want it to be like this anymore.

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Karen

Hi Linda,

I had a huge argument with my brother. We had been so close. He accused me of not consoling his 15 year old daughter, when she was crying. I did not console her because, frankly I felt she was a little too old to be crying like a two year old. I left the consoling up to her father as he was in the room.

Since I didn’t wipe her nose, he has called me all kinds of names and has accused me of being “different”. We argued and it hurt me so bad that I got sick. I prayed and asked God to help me.

Linda, if it is too toxic to deal with your brothers, then DON’T. Your own mental health is what is important. I have my mother, daughter and grand daughter who depend on me. I do not need the stress of someone accusing me for something I didn’t do.

Life is too short, take care of yourself. Neither one of us asked for this!

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Michelle P

I am hurting so much. My mum passed away on 23rd Dec with only me by her side. My dad was backwards and forwards to hospice, bless him, but dad needed rest. He was 87. I have 3 sisters and one brother but none of them stayed with me at the hospital.

I have been on such a lonely journey in life. I feel I was abandoned. Not one of my family stayed with me. It’s coming up to a year but I feel like an emotional wreck. My mum, who I absolutely loved and was so happy to spend days with and hear her laugh and giggle on the phone for an hour chatting, making each other laugh. I understand my brother and sisters grieved when mum became ill. I stayed. I would not let dad be on his own, or mum.

I look after dad now as mum would have wanted that it helps me, but there is hurt and anger in me.

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Catherine

I, too have been deeply wounded by my adult son. I am sorry for your pain and for all of us wounded souls. It is hard to understand why some have been gifted with loving, healthy families while others like us have not. In most cases, people do the best they can. You, we, I are not responsible for how others treat us, just our reactions to it. Take heart in knowing that you are deserving of love. Sometimes that love comes from our families and in cases such as ours, we have to find it within. May we all come to love and appreciate ourselves, flaws and all! I wish you peace and I wish you love!

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Sandra

Some Mother’s see what they want to see even if it is not true..some mothers..play favourites with their children…it is a very hurtful and ongoing thing.situation…you just have to build a strong and secure life for yourself..
because you know what you get from family
.will leave you insecure and stunned..it’s a hurtful situation for you…but you have to build your own castle and pleasantn and welcoming refuge..

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Mike

My brother & I clash when around each other. It’s more like he has to have this “controlling attitude'” over me. This has been going on for many years towards me & my nieces. I do feel some resentment from some things that have happened in our past that could be causing this resentment. To make matters worse he has an alcohol addiction. I can’t really talk to him when he is drunk since he is not in the right state of mind. I back off easily from him when he is like this to possibly talk to him when he is sober. He has been thru a program for this & had been sober for a little over a year but ended up going right back to drinking. I do feel that there is an “underlying” issue between us from the past that may trigger him to drink. Recently he received a good amount of money & did not share any of it with me. Over the years I have been trying to be the best brother I can be to him but I know he is holding something against me that he doesn’t want to talk about or maybe he is waiting on me to bring it up? Is it because I have a good bond with my father that he never had with his? His father was never there for him. I’m hoping one day we can talk face to face about “The ISSUE that has been straining our relationship.” I truly love him so I hope we can get past whatever it IS.

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Kelly L

At age 43, I am finally giving up. Let’s truly hope this is it, I think it is. My whole life I have been grasping and trying to create closer relationships with many of my family members . I always wanted to feel I was more of a priority to them and I yearned for emotional bonds in which I could be myself and share my feelings. After all these years, I am humiliated at how much I kept pushing, pulling, grasping at them. Disappointment and arguments over and over anytime I shared I was hurt was turned back on me. You see, deep down I knew they weren’t available for me for whatever reason and I can’t figure out why I kept trying. It has been agony. Recently, I brought two baby girls into the world and then here I go attaching expectations of much more involvement than any of them are interested in.

I realize now that all the blame and anger had to be acknowledged, but I could have let it go much much quicker. If we remember to try not take things personally and look within for love and beauty and strength, it is there for us. All the love in the world is within us, at our fingertips, and we don’t need our family to supply it.

I like the saying that if your too much for some people, they aren’t your people. Sums up my whole family life. They aren’t my people, the ones that I truly need for an enriched life. Sure they’ll be around, but now I can focus on my own family, my girls, and creating a community of people in my life to share in the joys of life with mutual respect and love.

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Rica

What if you just want to escape a mesirable life having to take care of your sick uncle who’s going through hemodialysis? Which you just met only twice. What should I do?

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Vicki

Assist him with getting case management services to coordinate his medical care which often includes transportation services. Start with his insurance and see if they have care coordinators who can help get him various services for the type of services he needs.

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Hera

I always had a on and off relationship with my parents since their concentration was on their golden child my brother. Even though I love my brother he never want me to have anything better than him. After a long years of on and off relationship with my family. I got married to the love of my life. He have loved me for who i am and never judged me even when my family went through financial issues. After 6 months of my marriage, my dad passed away, leaving my mom and brother with nothing. Me and my husband took them in to my husband’s home and lend then so much money, because my mom said she will pay them back monthly. Three years from that situation, now my brother have a job of his own, he bought a car, and married a girl he barely know for 3 months. Now he and mom have a different attitude towards me and my husband. They got a place of their own, go on trips albut don’t want to pay my husband back. They are also creating to fight against me and my husband. When ever my mother in law shows me some love, my mom gets ego issues with her and states. I like my mother in law more because she is rich. I never have any difference between both of them in my mind. Because of my family, my marriage is going through a rough time, i don’t know what to do. I like my family but because of them i am losing a man who have loved me for who i am . He is the best husband i can ever think of, but because of the lies and plays done my family, now we are having issues.

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Brenda

My mom and dad divoiced when I was 6 years old. My mom remarried when I was 11 years old to a man with twin boys and a adopted daughter. My dad remarried and they had a son.

My dad died in 2001. My step – father died in 2020.
My step – mother lives in NZ with a new husband. My half brother lives in ON. He is divoiced but has two daughters

My one step – brother lives in Vancouver. He is married with three adult children in their 20s. They give me the silent treatment and have no idea why. It hurts me.

The other step brother lives with his wife in ON and he thinks he is better than me

My step – father ‘a adoptive daughter got herself in trouble in Hawaii. Drugs and been in jail. She was bought to Vancouver She is working the same type of work as me , home health care. She gets welfare. And she believes she is better than me.

I am married and my so called family doesn’t like him

My in – laws are all lovely

My mom has cancer on top of all this

I feel like SHIT around them.

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D L

I feel your pain. My daughter got married yesterday after canceling her wedding 6 weeks ago (I provided emotional support duringthat period). She told me some things that were going on now and with someone else in the past. Then after she dumped all of her things on me over 24 hours, she decided to go back to him. He’s a decent guy so that’s okay. But I only had a few minutes to come to grips with what she told me. And I unfortunately said I hated him (just to her, not him). 2 days before the wedding I told her I was over it and I didn’t hate him. We’ve been talking and texting the whole time. Then she had her wedding and left out me and six other guests. She only had her new husband’s family in attendance. The ceremony was in her backyard which is a 15 minute walk. But she didn’t tell me she was getting married. I’m heartbroken and I don’t know how to fix it. If I lose her, I don’t think I can go on

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Susie

If you are there for her she will come back. Forgive her when she comes back. It must be very hard for you. X

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Toni m

This article really spoke to me.
Emotional stress, depression, skipping meals, alcohol, changes in sleep patterns, and taking too much medication. It can also trigger a Headache.

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Kamberuka

My marriage is having a big problem because his family doesn’t love me at all and they manipulating my husband and he believes that I hate his family and he always take his family side and see me as a bad person, above all when ever I give my mother in law foods she will bring back the plate that you gave her food dirty, I’m so confused now what can I do

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CreativePerson

I am not married, but here is advice. Find a time when your in laws or his family is not their there, and explain what is happening. Try to remain calm and mature. Sometimes it can get overwhelming for someone to be given too many things at once. If they do try to make you look bad, try to act maturely and calmly. You married for love (hopefully) and his family should not get in the way of that. Sometimes people will be rude, maybe they are sad or jealous of the attention he gives you or are having a hard time seeing him grow up. Try to–if possible, safely without making the situation worse (add more tension or them adding lies) (don’t worry, some people are just going to be like that) talking to them about it. Try to talk it out to see what is the “issue” they have with you.
If it is simply them, do not worry. Do not try to make yourself to her liking or let yourself get bothered with this. Your husband married you for a reason.
I hope this helps, and I am not a professional, but I hope this helps a bit.
You be you and let others be them.
Stay safe!

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anonymous

hey am hurt cause i mastrubate and my cosin saw it by mistake and told everyone that she is feeling insecure in home with me i was so hurt cause i dont have any intension about her in that way. further more i cant think she thinks of me to rape her. i respect her how should i tell her and the matter is worse now my parents and her parents knew this and the bond in between us is now fragile. the thing is not even my dreams i would do such an awful thing. and now i have to live with it for my whole life.

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Ash

This is a delicate situation. The fact that you are aware of the effect of an idea of a behavior has on others is very insightful. It sounds like your situation is a matter of miscommunication or lack of communication. What could you do or say to either your parents or cousin that would clear the air or allow things to settle down. An apology? Speaking your truth? That you thought you had privacy and now you know you didn’t and apologize for the feelings that triggered? These are just some ideas. Sounds like a small incident may have been blown out of proportion or the situation calls for a change in the way you deal with privacy in your environment. Good luck and speak your truth. Either they accept it or agree to disagree. All will be well.

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Tiffany

I found this article when searching for ways to think about my experience traveling with my niece (age 25) and a young college friend of mine (age 28). I am age 57. I traveled with these young ladies. I covered my niece’s expensive airfare/train fare with bonuses from my job. The friend paid all of her own expenses. The friend & I covered the hotels and there was a cot or sleep sofa for my niece. Long story short, my niece was unkind many times towards me. She walked ahead, refused to help me when I was struggling with luggage, threw objects at me when she was sassing and complaining. Yelled at me on a bus in front of other passengers, and more.I was so frustrated with her, but did not want to lash out or scold her in front of my friend, who basically was her peer. The entire time, my niece was reporting back to parents about how poorly I was treating her. Even though I was the one who made it possible for her to travel, she did not offer to buy my dinner at any of the nice places we ate. On one occasion when she owed me 10. DMs, she bought a 20. DM sandwich which we split. She walked away with a beer, but never offered me a beverage. On the last day, I was very sick from food poisoning but did not want to spoil their night out. I took medication and only ordered a small bowl of soup. When we stood up to pay, she made a big deal out of “buying my dinner”, when she had already treated me so badly the whole trip. And of all the meals to buy…the one where I ordered a 5.Dm bowl of soup. I was sick and I had it with her and I just glared and ignored her. I was not kind. I was sick & I was angry. At the train station she did not look for me to say goodbye. I had to find her. When I spoke to her parents after the trip they were angry with me for “how I treated her”. Yet they could not, and my niece has not identified what exactly I did except for the last day at dinner when I was upset and sick. By all appearances and by my nieces report to her parents, she enjoyed my friend. There was not one time where my friend & I did not include her. In fact, there were a few times when the two young ladies had extended conversations and went in a different direction than I did in museums, leaving me on my own. Which I was perfectly OK with. There was a time when we did not want to go for a morning coffee, but that was it. It turns out the coffee shop was closed before we had to catch a train. Based on her parent’s recommendation, I attempted to have a conversation but she would only e-mail or text. I offered to go to counseling with her to repair our relationship. She was offended by my suggestion of counseling. I left it with we will start over and rebuild our relationship. I have communicated with her via e-mails on several occasions asking how she was doing, talking about a book I have read, or some clothes I saw. She answers briefly and with a terminal statement, not extending the conversation at all. In family texts, she ignores anything I say or my husband says. In Skype conversations with families, she does not address us at all. She did not acknowledge a birthday gift I sent her. I should say we live in different cities, hours apart by train and a plane ride. It would be an extraordinary circumstance when I would see her so the texts, phone calls & e-mails are the only method. I told her I would apologize if I knew what it was I did incorrectly, but she won’t articulate it. I believe she was jealous of my young friend. What is next? I am very hurt that I used my travel resources to go with her and she did not appreciate the trip. I am hurt that she can not tell mer what I did wrong, leaving it with me as the bad guy. I feel sad that I am trying to rebuild our relationship only to have her ignore the attempts. She explicitly said she doesn’t want to talk, only texts…yet doesn’t engage. A psychologist friend told me to ignore her from this point and to not reinforce the behavior or let her get away with it. I have sent holiday packages to all my nieces & nephews, & their families including her. She is the only one who did not say whether the gift arrived. Her birthday is in January…do I ignore her birthday as my friend suggested? Just text as all my nieces & nephews do? Send a card as I have always done? Try again to repair?

Reply
Destini

Tiffany,
It was truly a kind heart that prompted you to include and pay for your niece on the trip. Your description of events reminded me of similar trips with my adult daughter.
Being left behind, unkind words hurled at me, not offering to help with luggage, not offering to pay for meals, etc.
The hurt I would feel started to build after internalizing it to prevent a scene but I was able to contain it. But there was a price to pay..I was harming myself…my blood pressure increased, depression started and I found myself isolating more and more.
The entitlement my daughter had was unbelievable! As with your niece reporting to her. Parents that you mistreated her, I also heard from relatives how “ toxic and mean” I was to my daughter. I could not believe what I heard. I continued to try and have communication with her only to be met with additional verbal attacks and jabs that were unfounded.
If she didn’t like a gift I bought she would say something like” if this is what you think of me, you can throw it away” never even an acknowledgment of the gift or thanks. We have not spoken in nearly 6 months and believe it or not, I’m ok with it. My love for her is allowing me to heal myself and give her the distance she desires. That means no more gifts or text or emails, they were always met with sarcasm. That also means no visitation or calls. As much as it pains me to do this, I had to finally say enough!
If she desires a relationship with me it will have to be respectful and civil. I will not allow myself to be pulled back in the unhealthy space again.

If you feel like sending something for your niece’s birthday, do it out of love not obligation. Stand up for yourself, create your boundaries and live your life. Either she will respect the difference or not, either way you protect yourself from future pain.

Reply
Tiffany

Thank you for the reply Destini!

I can imagine that my own sister has put up with some garbage from her daughter (my niece). I also think (correct me if I am wrong) that nuclear families (mother/father/offspring) are more likely to have harsh moments and overcome them. I will keep a good thought that this is the case for your daughter and you.

You gave really good advice about gifts etc. I did send a Xmas gift…as I did to all my nieces & nephews. She was the only person who did not acknowledge the gift. I have texted her and her mother in the last year and she used to respond only when I texted her mother & her. Now she does not respond at all when it is both.

I’ll try a few more congenial vollies of communication before thebirthday and if they are ignored, I will follow your advice.

Thank you for answering.

Reply
Janet

My neice got married 6 months ago & we were real close buy she gets married & I never hear anything from her unless I reach out I feel so hurt.
I don’t feel like having anything to do with her now.
Very disappointing

Reply
Nanno

This has been going on for years with my sibling, mother, and daughter. They’re constantly focusing on my assets and what I do in my life. Pride gets in the way of their feelings for me. I went over for Thanksgiving and the 1st thing that my sibling tells me is I can’t have any Turkey until my daughter arrives but all of them had already ate. My sibling was informing me that I should wait got my daughter to arrive with her food. I didn’t listen to her, so I ate anyways. Then, after my daughter arrives, my daughter and sibling start getting in to my personal life. Discussing my weight and offering big clothes to me when zi didn’t ask for her opinion. Trying to guess my size. I informed them that Thsnk you gor the offer, but my my doctor and I are handling it. I have a health condition and it’s not for them to worry about.

Reply
Smita K

hi ,i am stuck in love with husband who is now determined to set me as mentally sick along with his family to support his widow sister …she has already dominated humiliated her husband to such an extent that he died out of stroke,,,,No one was ready to help that poor fellow and was crushed under huge family pressure of his own son daughter and his wife..he was severed from his family tooo…. same is being played with me … very wicked … they spell against me to my daughter…. even after doing everything they talk bad about me on my back….they have framed me as a person who dont have responsibity….
I dont want to leave Him but the family wants him to leave him so that he can support the daughter …. not concerned for my daughter…

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