How do I deal with my family? - FamilyEducation
How do I deal with my family?
02/12/2010 at 17:15 PM

I am 30 years old and my mother recently "wrote me off" after a situation involving a personal medical issue of mine. I shared it with her and she skewed the facts (however unintentional) that made the whole thing WAY bigger than it should've been. She told two co-worker friends, and my father, who in turn told my brother, who freaked out and told his best friend.

I emailed my whole family asking them to keep things like this private. (I live across the country). My brother was cool and understood. Mom and dad ignored me for almost a week b/c they "didn't know how to respond." Mom then said I was selfish for wanting to keep things to myself and/ or within the family, after she told me she shared my email with those same co-workers because she "just couldn't understand why I would react this way." It's like she missed the whole point of the email! Dad's upset b/c I don't trust them and I'll just isolate myself. All I told him was that I will watch how and when I say things. Please understand my email was in no way derogatory or defensive, rather, matter-of-fact and understanding of the fact that information was shared out of concern.

I hung up with dad and mom called back 5 minutes later and coldly stated that I have "hurt her to the core" and she has "put up with enough of my sh** through the years" and "unless something major happens, don't bother calling to chit-chat" and hung up on me.

Without psychoanalyzing my family, I can say that mom has suffered from severe depression over the years. Whenever we upset her, dad would tell us kids to apologize because we hurt mom. It was never about what we did – just that we hurt mom. We've had our ups and downs but this is just out of the blue for me.

My concern is that my brother is getting married soon and even though I will do everything I can to not let this interfere with his wedding, I'm worried that mom will push my buttons. I don't understand how this got so huge and misinterpreted? Do I just ignore her behavior, and if that's the case, will she see that as me condoning it? She recently told my brother (who lives near them) that "we are no longer on speaking terms with your sister", like she's proud of it! I've asked my brother to stay out of the middle, which he is handling with such grace. I really do not want there to be tension and am resisting the urge to fix it just so mom feels better.

Sad, I am sorry you are going through such difficulties.
Though each story has two sides, you presented yours very clearly. First, you will need to eat crow and smooth things over; however, you no longer should be sharing anything crucial with your parents. You need to find a new social support outlet, respect your family but share no more. This is an unhealthy environment for you and nothing good comes out of it. You need to be surrounded by support and respect. With that said however, always make good choices that make you feel you gave it all you have with respect and no regrets. We all know the difference between right and wrong. If you have regrets for your past actions, fix it,work on it independently with a social support group.