Am i a Bad Person if I just don't care about my relatives? they're not abusive, just incompatible.

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by witchknights, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. witchknights

    witchknights 27 Bold Enchanter Defends The Fearful

    i know this is probably not the best place to rant, but i don't have anywhere else except my tumblr and i'd like to keep negativity off of it for now.

    But, yeah, what it says in the tin.

    For a bit of context: In the past... two years or so, there's been a Babymaking Explosion in my family. Today we have the baby shower of yet another great-granddaughter and, look, babies are nice and everything, congratz to my cousin and his wife, but i just. don't. care. about the baby shower. about going to see the baby in the hospital when it's born.

    The last time this cousin in particular and his wife were even in the same room as me was in my grandma's 80th birthday party... in 2009. true, i could probably have met them if i went to more family gatherings, but this circles back to the fact that i'm not a social person, im constantly running on low spoons and look, family stuff is boring and infuriating.

    i'm not particularly close to any of my extended family. they aren't part of my life, we don't visit each other, most have never called home or visited or even like our facebook posts - which nowadays is like, the bare minimum of 'being part of someone's life' standards - unless they need my mom's signature in some medical paperwork, or money. we don't have much common ground, IF someone even notices i'm there they'll talk about me either being fat and how i should totally do a gastric bypass like my now-totally-hot-cousin, or me being a NEET and how i should value my mom's efforts more, or me being stupid for dating long-distance, which are essentially the same three subjects they've asked in family gatherings for the past six years, and they'll mutter darkly about my grandma's state of mental health and nod as they say that 'someone should do something about her' in front of me, then pat each other on the back for being so loving right in front of me, when i am the one who stays with her twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, hell or high water, being the one who deals with all her temper tantrums and her yelling and her controlling behavior and not being able to live outside my own bedroom and jUST BECAUSE SHE HASN'T FOUND A WAY FOR ME TO NOT CLOSE MY DOOR LIKE SHE'S DONE WHEN I WAS YOUNGER.

    ok im a bit stressed about this. sorry.

    and also i know that it'll be painful ven if they do what they usually do and let me sit sulking in a corner because 99% of my family are right-wing and slightly homophobic, while i'm a closeted bi girl who thinks that, like, all people should have the right to decent living and such revolutionary commie ideas.

    and it's like. unpleasant!!! and hypocritical!! i have nothing to do with their life, we're not close, i didn't even know she was pregnant until like two weeks ago and the damned thing is almost popping out, why should i act like i am soooo happy and excited and pretend the little womb nugget is going to impact my life sooo much? i wouldn't want them around me if i were the person who was pregnant, i'd want the people that i like and that will be part of my life as a parent, yknow. not some whatever cousin whose name i still don't get right after like 10 years of bing married into the family. (it's mariannE, not mariannA)

    and my mom's just made a three hour shitfest out of me not being thrilled about going, insisting in yelling to my grandma that oh, it's not her fault if she couldn't raise me with the minimal sense of family kinship!!! and i'm just. lmao. fuck family kinship. im not interested in the kinship of people i have nothing else in common with than just a fraction of DNA. i don't have any ill will towards them, but... i don't. care.

    my family is my mom, my grandma and my fiancé, not the rest of the appendages. i mean it's almost at the same level of i simply don't care that i have for my father's side of the family, and i literally don't know them because my father abandoned us before i was born and i've never met him, much less his side of the family. so like. i feel terrible for not having the spoons or the willpower to make a big deal out of (very good!!) news from people i don't have much contact with? and also i would find it creepy if they made a big deal out of my accomplishments?

    i cant shake the feeling that i'm a terrible person for disappointing and upsetting my mom and that i should make the effort and use the spoons i could be using to do things that make me actually less miserable instead of more.

    like she says the family will be 'so devastated' if i don't go but honestly most of my other cousins won't and nobody ever notices.

    i've thought of just going and being confrontational and unpleasant, but that'd cause an even bigger shitstorm and i don't want to damage grans' health more than it already is. but sometimes being around them, as ridiculous as it sounds, just feels too much. i know i shouldnt be complaining because there's a lot of people here with real problems with really shitty families and i'm complaining with my plate full but i really just wanted to... vent. and stop kicking myself for not being a perfect daughter who never upsets mom, i guess.
  2. Morven

    Morven In darkness be the sound and light

    These feelings are completely OK. These are real problems and real issues ... there's always going to be people who have it worse, but that does not invalidate yours.
    • Like x 1
  3. witchknights

    witchknights 27 Bold Enchanter Defends The Fearful

    it just infuriates me when they bicker about how much of a terrible person i am for not wanting to go to family gatherings when my grandma literally cut ties with her brother when he said he'd prefer if she didn't treat his ex-wife terribly in front of their daughter and continued to refuse to talk to him for more than ten years, even refusing his request to see her one last time to make amends as he laid dying on the ICU. when he died and my mom told her that she literally said "and what do i have to do with it?". like. i get it that we're both hardcore mean people and i've apparently inherited that from her but look. gran. you can't force people to do what you want when you yourself won't play nice.
    • Like x 2
  4. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    Yeah, it's totally ok to be done, mentally & emotionally, with family.
    to be a little trite, sometimes the best families are the families you make, and that's ok
    • Like x 1
  5. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    Well, you are not a terrible person. It is very much okay and in your right to not want to see people you don't know/care about, even if they are related. It is a pain to try and socialize and develop relationships with lots of people. Especially if you are an introvert(which it sounds like you are). Your family probably doesn't understand because they function differently.

    As far as what to do... I would load up on excuses. You got work? School? Project? Commitment to friends? Feeling ill? You said that you were very stressed atm, so use it. You have a life and it is your right to put it before some relative's event.
    • Like x 1
  6. Lissiel

    Lissiel Dreaming dead

    Also, your family seems much more pushy about extended ties than a lot that I've seen. Like, my mate has s bunch of cousins hes never even met. My cousin just had a baby and pretty much my response this time was 'thats cool. I should send her a card or something' and I totally ignored her first three and basically no one gave a shit? So, idk if this is cultural or what but I would say that theres pretty good evidence that this is more 'you're not doing what I tell you to how dare you' than 'not doing this thing is objectively terrible.'
    • Like x 1
  7. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    @Lissiel that might be a Brazilian thing? Most families I know do get pushy about extended family, idk.

    And @witchknights , sparing yourself from interacting with these people is not being a bad person. I think this is where the distinction between "toxic" and "abusive" comes in handy - none of them are abusing you, but if they drain you of energy and happiness and good vibes, they are toxic to you and it's OK to avoid or remove them from your life.
    • Like x 1
  8. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Sounds to me like your mom has some problem which isn't this that she's actually concerned about, and this is just substituting for it. Because, yeah, no one is going to be devastated if one or two distant relatives don't show up for a baby thing.
    • Like x 1
  9. Ink

    Ink Well-Known Member

    After years and years of dealing with this with my mom, she and I finally had a discussion that got down to the root of the problem for us. So, I don't know if this is a factor in your situation or not, but in hopes that even just considering it and eliminating it as a possibility would help a little...

    At the time we had the discussion, my Asperger's was undiagnosed but I knew I was really introverted and realized my dad was too. My mom OTOH was one of the most sociable persons I knew. As it turns out, she loved socializing so much that it simply would not compute to her that it would be anything but utterly desirable and enjoyable to everyone else. Simply would not compute. Apparently all her married life and all of my life she assumed that dad and I must truly enjoy socializing (as she assumed everyone did) and that the only reason we might deprive ourselves of that joy was to punish her in some way--to spite her. No matter how often we tried to explain our feelings on the matter she found our explanations to ring so untrue that she simply could not believe us.

    She was in her late 80's before this came out. She had hidden her feelings all this time. Not in a passive-aggressive manner. Truly had hidden them.

    By then, my dad had advanced Alzheimer's. I told her as best I could that, no. He truly found socializing uncomfortable, draining and sometimes painful. He did not spite her. He loved her. The times he went to social occasions with her was because he loved her and wanted to support her and be with her and enjoy her company. He bore them for her.

    It was like a life-long Gift of the Magi story, in which the thing that the one gave up for the other was never truly revealed.

    The person who was at risk of devastation if we didn't go to something, whatever the content of her appeals actually might have been, was my mom. One thing I regret is that I didn't get my diagnosis before she passed away. I wish I could have had that to bolster my veracity, and dad's, and help her understand that we really, really loved her and hopefully allow her to re-frame that dynamic in our lives that left her feeling needlessly spited by us. By regret, I don't mean guilty feelings. When we resisted too much socialization, Dad and I were doing what we did to protect our mental health. None of us were guilty. We just misunderstood this dynamic.
    • Like x 2
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