Toxic family.


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Moving, I know I have faults and have worked on them over the years. My wife helps me all the time. I used to be extremely abrasive. She would say its not so much your point its how you put it out there or present it, it makes people want to disagree with you even if they do agree with you. I get that. I am a lot like how Rush Limbaugh presents things, very passionate and it just comes across as its in your face.

All of us brothers are like that. I put a lot of our issues collectively on my parents. We were not raised we were there to serve my father and when that was not done any longer he had no real use for us. So I absolutly know I can be a pill to get along with but I work on it and am much much better than I was. In fact when my father died my brother with the trash can wife and I went to my dads now our estate to sell the farm land and clean out the house and make it salable. We hired some people who my father used around the farm who I could see out of the gate were less than quality people, but we needed help as my father was a hoarder and we needed to clean out the house and garage and barns.

I kept notes on things they just took without asking, IMO stole. When we were done, I did not pay them for things I felt we did not owe them for such as the deal was they were to work the garage sale, me and my brother would bring in things to sell they would sit it and sell and at the end of every day we split the sales. But they wanted that and hourly pay. I blew them off after the everything was over but in a very tactful way. My brother got all pissy with me saying what happend to you you. You would blow up and call them every name in the book and where the cow crapped in the field. I told him, I came to realize the this only causes issues and almost never helps a thing. He was ticked at me for not going off on them.

But what would that have accomplished? That same brother will go off on a tangent cursing and attacking anyone who does not do what he thinks they should be doing. So I have come a long way and the road is never ending. I get it. But I can not see why I need to put myself in a place where I need to watch every word and worry it may offend someone. I don't believe in safe spaces or any of that snowflake crap. No one has a right to not hear things they do not like.


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I really am not sure what I am asking for. I would like everyone to just get along. Life is way too short to get all pissed off every time some says something you don't like, and its really tiring.


I guess overall in these situations, our tendency is to place ourselves in a role of being right. Because everything was wrong around us for so long and being right against others has been useful, well, it's also easy to fixate in those patterns and be really negative, if not hurtful.

And I don't think the idea is to tone police or whatever. Here if you look at the diaries you can see people use rather raw terms to talk about everything. But please consider that the sequence of words that triggered many of us round here, we did hear it about us, and seen used as the entrance point for abuse worse than being just called names. You can say what you want. But truly chances are people to disengage reading what you have to say. Just as being negative and dismissive also creates that disengagement, as you did write yourself.

Your situation seems though and annoying, but it seems also that you're creating even more suffering for yourself by ruminating the rights and wrongs of people. You can't change them. You can't convince them to be another way that what they are, or influence on their relationships. What you can do is to see where is your pain and what you can do to make it change. And model your relationships with your boundaries. And surround yourself with people who are more in line with your values. But you might also be placing your bar quite high and if it's very narrow to be acceptable inside of your own narrative, yourself included, then it might be a narrative that is easily critical and the effect of misdirected anger. And while we have the impression because we're quickly triggered by something that it is the thing that is causing the anger (and likely, some fear!), actually it's not always that clear. Or the thing is causing irritation but because it piles up with other things, it becomes that ball of rage.
I think even if you lived forever, it wouldnt change until the dynamic changes. So it could change tomorrow, or never. I can only say, try to be kind, empathetic, establish boundaries, look fo things they do right, and live your own life. Their life or choices really isn't your concern, no more than yours is theirs. JMHO though. Disregard if not helpful.


But I can not see why I need to put myself in a place where I need to watch every word and worry it may offend someone.
This makes sense to me.

If your life was spent not being allowed to speak your mind, and being told what to think? Makes sense that you place a lot of value in being able to say what you think.
No one has a right to not hear things they do not like.
This is the part where I think you're getting things mixed up.

Because you can go right ahead and say whatever you like.
But, no one has any obligation to listen.

I don't believe in safe spaces or any of that snowflake crap.
This is maybe black/white thinking.

You can continue to speak your mind. That's a big deal for you, given where you've come from.

But, if you get to the point where you'd like people to listen to what you're saying, like your brothers? You may need to change your communication style. Because as long as you keep using an aggressive communication style? They're not going to listen. People won't actually hear what you're saying. You may as well be shouting to an empty room.

Effective communication, when you're talking and people start listening? Requires that you communicate in a way that respects your audience. Being assertive, rather than aggressive.

That's both a choice, and a learned skill. Whether it's something you want for yourself or not? Is your choice.


I really am not sure what I am asking for. I would like everyone to just get along. Life is way too short to get all pissed off every time some says something you don't like, and its really tiring.
Something that I need to remind myself of, pretty often - usually about once a day - is that changing our beliefs - I don't specifically mean religion here, just the broader categories of beliefs about the world, about people, about very difficult. Very very difficult.

I know it's hard, because of how hard it is to change my own beliefs about myself. You pointed out that you worked on yourself to become a better husband to your wife, and that was a situation where you had a solid external motivation - you wanted to be better for her, for the marriage, and for yourself. You were motivated to change, and I'm going to bet that it was still extremely difficult to do.

When we see people around us - especially people who we truly care about - when we see them doing everything they can to deny change, or avoid change - it can feel wrong to ignore it or let it go.

What you need to remember is - there are a million reasons why it will be the hardest thing in the world for them to change. You might know what those are, or you might not be able to see them as clearly as you can see the reasons in favor of change. But what matters is whether they can see it.

What matters for you is - what are the beliefs you have going on that are interfering with your ability to accept them as they are, and as if there is no possible change in sight.

And quite often, the answer will be that it's just too painful for you to accept/allow them to remain unchanged. And when that's the case, the best option for everyone is to give it some space. Not necessarily shutting down the entire relationship - it really depends on the situation.

On the other hand, sometimes the answer isn't that it's too painful or harmful to yourself to accept their lack of change. Sometimes, you'll find that there's a piece of it that's not about them at all - it's about you and the beliefs you have about your responsibilities towards them. That's different, that's something then for you to work on, until you are confident that it's not something dysfunctional driving your desire for them to fix their station - it's just genuinely that you love them, but you can't keep putting yourself through it.

And that doesn't mean you need to go no-contact. It does mean that you need to understand - create, really - your own rules of engagement, that you can know when you can let something slide and not get into a fight over it, vs. when it's just not possible for you to let that thing go.

I'm kind of rambling, I hope something in here is useful but it's of course OK if nothing is.


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My family has always been negative, critical, and toxic. A narcissistic father who sucked the life out of my mother and was overly strict with all of his children. Turns out, 3 out of 5 of the kids are a replica of my dad. WhT is upsetting is that I picked and married men just like him. I have had a hard time forgiving myself but I also realize that my path was created for me, thinking my childhood and my parents relationship
was “normal”. We can’t pick our family but we can put up boundaries. Best decision I ever made for me and my mental health😊