No announcement yet.

toxic family member

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    toxic family member

    I wrote a long blog post about this in another forum, on another site, and I wanted to shorten it here.

    Basically, about a toxic family member- my dad to be specific.
    Was labelled as narcissistic by my therapist, when I described the behaviour.
    And I'm afraid sociopathic (or traits of) as well.
    I'm an adult now in a good profession, married, no kids.

    My dad:
    -gas lighting
    -demeaning in private, ignoring us or not talking to us in public (can also happen in private)

    Basically, to keep it short, in an outing to celebrate my dad's birthday he insulted me,
    my husband's mom (to the point of tears on her part), and upset everybody.
    My family has been putting up with his behaviour for years (because he's "family after all").

    I'm a 31-year old, and basically have been delaying having children,
    for the fear that my dad would become over involved in our lives again, overbearing,
    and cause the misery that his mother (same character) has in our lives/and to my mom.

    So it's either cut him off completely-but my husband does not believe he is all that bad even after what happend (who can).
    I've given him many chances, offered help, but he explicitly stated over and over he "doesn't need/want help", and will not change.
    He's admitted to depression but I'm sure there is more on board.

    It's taboo to talk to anyone that your own family member (even if people have heard of others), is like this.
    But I'm tired of covering up for his own bad behaviour. he was nice to me once (when he needed support for a surgery),
    so I know he has a choice, and chooses to say and do whatever the heck he wants, even if it causes pain and misery,
    he's explicitly said that.

    any advice on this dilemma, as it's causing a lot of anxiety and depression. I would move away, but my
    husband does not support this, and wants to move closer to our parents (his parents are loving and supporting btw-our
    parents actually live close to one another so it's tricky)..and so I feel trapped...

    Hello Bananasundae and welcome. It's not at all nice when these sort of things happen. My father and I didn't have much of a relationship for many years. He wasn't toxic like your father, but he wasn't one to instill closeness either and when I became ill it was an embarrassment to him. However now that he's older and he's had some fairly major illnesses he has mellowed considerably.

    I'm not saying to wait him out or to put up with a lot of guff from him. My father and I really didn't talk for years even though we lived nearby each other. You cannot force him to change and unless he wants to make change even helpful suggestions will probably go by the wayside.

    As far as covering up for someone, in my mind you can only cover up so much. You may be related to someone,you may even love that person but that doesn't mean that you have to like them. The desire to love our relatives is genetically driven and often we would like nothing better than to have a good relationship with someone. However it's been my experience that if that someone or someones doesn't want to make a relationship work t's doomed to failure.

    Your father's behaviour is not a reflection on you. You sound like a kind and considerate person. So try and remember that whatever he does is not your fault and that you have tried and he just won't listen. Sorry that I don't have any great answers, but even with some of my siblings I limit my contact with them because of their not understanding my illness. It's harsh and lonely at times not to have contact or to only have limited contact, but it's a lot harsher when their is contact.

    If there is no way to avoid contact, remember that you are a good person and whatever happens is not your fault. Take Care. paul m
    "Alone we can do so little;
    Together we can do so much"
    Helen Keller


      Thank you Paul for your understanding. Don't apologize, it's great to have a fresh perspective, and nice to hear that it's not a reflection on me. I guess as children (generally speaking), we carry that shame and blame put on us, because we look up to our parents and can't fathom that they would hurt us (intentionally or not). Thank you tremendously for taking the time to read my post and your thoughtful response, you have no idea how much this means.


        Welcome to the forums Bananasundae

        ~ it's always worth it ~


          Welcome to the forums Bananasundae.

          Humans punish themselves endlessly
          for not being what they believe they should be.
          -Don Miguel Ruiz-