Back to the therapist I go! - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-05-2019, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Back to the therapist I go!

Back before I asked my former husband for a separation, I had started seeing a therapist to make sure I had my head screwed on straight and was making the right decision. She helped me a lot, and forced me to see things from other perspectives, which was good.

Fast forward to present day. I have an appointment to go see her again. Not because things in my new relationship are awry; thatís going really well! The catalyst for making an appointment with her was Thanksgiving with my immediate family. For the past 20 or so years, I havenít really felt welcome within my own family, and it sucks to say the least. Iíve gotten picked on, called names, laughed at, and have been told to suck it up through it all. And, thatís what Iíve done, because standing up for myself has almost always made things worse. Iíve apologized for so many things: some were my fault, some werenít, but I had to apologize just to keep the peace.

Thanksgiving was trying, and Iím dreading Christmas. My sister is also now going through a separation after almost 19 years of marriage, and about 10 years of dating prior to that. Itís hard on her, but at the same time, sheís tough to be around unless youíre smiling and agreeing with her. So, I get it, but itís still unfortunate for both of them.

Iíd love to just go hole up for Christmas, but know that I cannot, so Iím going back to the therapist to get some advice on how to handle situations that may arise, when and how Iím able to speak up, and when Iím OK to just say ďIíve had enoughĒ and walk away from the situation quietly. I donít know how to do these things. My Mom always used to tell me that she ďwanted to see me grow a backbone before she diedĒ, but neglected to teach me how to do this in a kind way. Iím no princess, but kindness equals kindness, and itís really hard to be kind when those closest to you enjoy picking on you. So, Iím excited to talk to my therapist again, and get her thoughts and suggestions!

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-05-2019, 06:21 PM
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursula View Post
Back before I asked my former husband for a separation, I had started seeing a therapist to make sure I had my head screwed on straight and was making the right decision. She helped me a lot, and forced me to see things from other perspectives, which was good.

Fast forward to present day. I have an appointment to go see her again. Not because things in my new relationship are awry; thatís going really well! The catalyst for making an appointment with her was Thanksgiving with my immediate family. For the past 20 or so years, I havenít really felt welcome within my own family, and it sucks to say the least. Iíve gotten picked on, called names, laughed at, and have been told to suck it up through it all. And, thatís what Iíve done, because standing up for myself has almost always made things worse. Iíve apologized for so many things: some were my fault, some werenít, but I had to apologize just to keep the peace.

Thanksgiving was trying, and Iím dreading Christmas. My sister is also now going through a separation after almost 19 years of marriage, and about 10 years of dating prior to that. Itís hard on her, but at the same time, sheís tough to be around unless youíre smiling and agreeing with her. So, I get it, but itís still unfortunate for both of them.

Iíd love to just go hole up for Christmas, but know that I cannot, so Iím going back to the therapist to get some advice on how to handle situations that may arise, when and how Iím able to speak up, and when Iím OK to just say ďIíve had enoughĒ and walk away from the situation quietly. I donít know how to do these things. My Mom always used to tell me that she ďwanted to see me grow a backbone before she diedĒ, but neglected to teach me how to do this in a kind way. Iím no princess, but kindness equals kindness, and itís really hard to be kind when those closest to you enjoy picking on you. So, Iím excited to talk to my therapist again, and get her thoughts and suggestions!

Are you the youngest by any chance? My siblings still "pick" on me all the time too. When it all gets to be too much just say "for the love of God are you ever going to outgrow picking on me? Jesus...you're ___ years old for God's sake" and then walk away. It works for me. By doing that you're calling them out on their childish behavior and taking charge of the situation by removing yourself from it.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-05-2019, 06:34 PM
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

You know the old saying. You can pick your nose but you can't pick your family. My heart breaks for you.

I am excited for you to learn how to stand up for yourself. It's never too late to learn. Good for you.

PS-I am over the moon for you about how your relationship is going!
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-05-2019, 06:51 PM
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Just smile sweetly and tell them to go **** themselves. **** is such a great word, it’s a noun, a verb and an adjective. And it is always clear what you mean. You never read “**** off he hinted “ and it’s understandable in every language.

When someone says itís not the money itís the principle,itís always the money.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-05-2019, 08:07 PM
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

I hope things work out for you.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-05-2019, 08:26 PM
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Years ago I had a good friend that came from a VERY dysfunctional family. Holidays for her was stress, tears and hurt feelings. One year she said "screw this" and told everyone (her family) she will not attend these events anymore.

You could see the stress wash off her. Said she was never happier with her decision.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-05-2019, 09:56 PM
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursula View Post
Back before I asked my former husband for a separation, I had started seeing a therapist to make sure I had my head screwed on straight and was making the right decision. She helped me a lot, and forced me to see things from other perspectives, which was good.

Fast forward to present day. I have an appointment to go see her again. Not because things in my new relationship are awry; thatís going really well! The catalyst for making an appointment with her was Thanksgiving with my immediate family. For the past 20 or so years, I havenít really felt welcome within my own family, and it sucks to say the least. Iíve gotten picked on, called names, laughed at, and have been told to suck it up through it all. And, thatís what Iíve done, because standing up for myself has almost always made things worse. Iíve apologized for so many things: some were my fault, some werenít, but I had to apologize just to keep the peace.

Thanksgiving was trying, and Iím dreading Christmas. My sister is also now going through a separation after almost 19 years of marriage, and about 10 years of dating prior to that. Itís hard on her, but at the same time, sheís tough to be around unless youíre smiling and agreeing with her. So, I get it, but itís still unfortunate for both of them.

Iíd love to just go hole up for Christmas, but know that I cannot, so Iím going back to the therapist to get some advice on how to handle situations that may arise, when and how Iím able to speak up, and when Iím OK to just say ďIíve had enoughĒ and walk away from the situation quietly. I donít know how to do these things. My Mom always used to tell me that she ďwanted to see me grow a backbone before she diedĒ, but neglected to teach me how to do this in a kind way. Iím no princess, but kindness equals kindness, and itís really hard to be kind when those closest to you enjoy picking on you. So, Iím excited to talk to my therapist again, and get her thoughts and suggestions!
That's not true. It would be very simple for you to hole up for the entire holiday season. Explaining it to your family may not be easy, but it's a perfectly reasonable solution.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-05-2019, 09:56 PM
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

This is why I cut my family out of my life. The best decision I've ever made. And I don't regret it one bit.

@Ursula - My mom was like yours. I was frequently told to stand up for myself when another child bullied me. But my mother never stood up for ME. She never gave me positive reinforcement for the few times I tried to stand up for myself.

Sorry, but I don't ascribe to a family-first mentality. Your parents, like mine, have done a tap dance on your psyche. You'd be surprised at how great it can feel to tell them to all go f themselves.

I refuse to make anyone a priority in my life who considers me nothing more than an option.

You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 10:45 AM
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

One thing you do have wrong here, is that you DONT HAVE to go and participate. Decline the invite. If pressed you can let them know you are done with being treated like crap, so you are choosing to be on your own for the holidays. That said, I do like notmyjamie's approach. If it doesnt work, then you leave, and after that, dont attend again. I am glad you are seeking help with this issue, good for you.

Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 12:37 PM
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

Families of origin maintain their familial dynamic unless they are disabused of it for some reason. Some members are never disabused of it.

In my opinion, the best you can do is behave in a self-affirming way. Given what you've told us, that would mean not taking part in these family get-togethers.

In my family, I was expected to fix everything. Even my parents came to me to solve the family problems. Nobody ever offered to help me. Pretty much ever. I reached a point where I just stopped acquiescing in the infliction of my own pain. I stopped helping. I stopped participating. If the same dynamic showed itself, I excused myself and just went about my business. People noticed and when I was asked about the 'new' me, I told them the truth.

It was the right thing for me. Both parents have died. I have good/decent relationships with three siblings. One sibling is estranged from the rest of us. The old dynamic is basically dead now and I can manage to have family reunions without all of the old pain.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 01:47 PM
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

Sometimes idiotic people say or do things just
to get a reaction. Some of my family members
(both sides ) use to say things. I don't give them
any reaction. It stopped. No confrontation it
just isn't worth my time. Once I was asked about
it my reply " I don't play silly childish games "

If someone on my side of the family tried to yank
my wives chain. Well their is a big dog who bites
on this chain. That stopped all so.

F- them. If you want to go then go. Be polite do the
normal greetings and leave early. Then go have a blast
with your new relationship. It will probably be more rewarding.

Thick skin necessary when dealing with thick headed people.

Wishing you a very early and very Merry Christmas by the way.

Never place anyone on a pedestal it hurts more when they fall off
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

@notmyjamie — Yup, I’m the youngest of 2 kids; I’m 41, my sister is 49. And I pretty much love the words that you suggested I say. I feel like it would strike a chord in someone and make them realize what the heck they’re doing.

@lucy999 — I’m looking forward to seeing how things go on Monday with the therapist, and it’ll be nice to just feel a little more grounded again. And thanks, I feel like my SO and I are both pretty lucky to have found such a solid match in each other!

@Andy1001 — Oh, you have no idea how much I’d love to see their reaction to those words! But, I don’t think that would go over very well, and it would probably be turned around to be my problem and would have to apologize for swearing at them. But, it would be amusing!

@rockon — I’ve thought about doing this too, and I know that my sister has as well. It’s stressful when you’re in a situation that you feel like you can’t get out of, and sometimes it would just be nice to avoid it altogether. Good for your friend for standing up and taking action! I hope it doesn’t come to this for me, but at this point, I’m ready to walk if I need to.

@BioFury — Yes, but in this case, my family is clueless about how they are to me. I’ve tried to talk to them about it in the past, but am usually told that it’s “all in my head”. So, at this point, me saying that I’m not attending Christmas would probably be viewed as me throwing a hissy fit or being immature. I don’t want that added drama. I’ll go and employ the tips that I get from here and the therapist. I’ve never stood up for myself towards them (with success), and would like to try that again before giving up completely.

@Prodigal — I’m sorry that you’ve come from a similar family dynamic; it’s pretty effed up, hey? And yes, I realize some of the stuff they’ve inflicted that still hurts to this day, but here’s the thing that I try to remember: they did the best they could with the information that they had at the time. No one is perfect. BUT, what would be really nice is if they as well as my sister would own the stuff they’ve done and said. Take ownership, realize that it was wrong and apologize.

Thanks @3Xnocharm, I’m hoping that the therapist can help out with how to handle things. She certainly was a big help before my separation!

@alte Dame, I would love to have the strength to do what you suggest, but at this point, I don’t. I’m at the point where I would still like to have a relationship with them, but know that there’s a chance this can’t/won’t happen, and at that point, I’ll be left with no choice but to walk away. My parents have done a lot to me but have also done a lot FOR me, and I would rather try to repair the relationship while they’re still alive. I love them all very much, but at times, I really don’t like them much.

@sa58 — Yours is the tactic that I’m hoping will eventually work for my own family, but time will tell. I still find it really hard to just not react. Christmas will be spent in another province, where my sister lives, and my dogs and I will be travelling with my parents, so there’s not really an “out” if I want one, but could just walk away and go to the room I sleep in. Sadly, I’ve known my SO’s family for a very short time, and already feel more welcome in their family than I do in my own. And yes, thick skin is something that I need to grow! Merry (early) Christmas to you as well :-)

Thanks for the replies, guys. I’ll keep you updated on what the therapist says.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 05:35 PM
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

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@Prodigal — I’m sorry that you’ve come from a similar family dynamic; it’s pretty effed up, hey? And yes, I realize some of the stuff they’ve inflicted that still hurts to this day, but here’s the thing that I try to remember: they did the best they could with the information that they had at the time. No one is perfect. BUT, what would be really nice is if they as well as my sister would own the stuff they’ve done and said. Take ownership, realize that it was wrong and apologize.
Sadly, parents rarely own up to screwing up their kids' lives. Like you said, they did the best they could and probably don't think they did anything wrong. However, the "best" some parents give is downright toxic.

I was relieved when I cut ties. It's not that I miss my parents, because I don't. What I'm left missing is that I never got to have decent parents at all.

I really hope you find peace, whatever course of action you pursue.

I refuse to make anyone a priority in my life who considers me nothing more than an option.

You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 06:47 PM
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

I don't think you have to walk away. Just extract yourself from situations that will obviously hurt you. Beg off the Thanksgiving dinner and do something else instead. Same for Christmas. It may just be personality, but I would rather be alone, even on the holidays, than offer myself up for the expected family torture. Sometimes families figure things out when you stop doing what they expect.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 12:06 PM
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Re: Back to the therapist I go!

Ursula,

A story about ignoring idiots.

We have two dogs. One full breed German Shepard.
Mine is a Australian Shepard, black grey, brown
and one brown eye and one blue. 15 years old now.

A few years ago me and my wife were at a local
gas station filling up our truck. My Aussie was in the
back seat. A grown man about six feet said " What
kind of dog s that it is the funniest/strangest looking
dog I have ever seen " I told him my Awesome Aussie

Then this full grown man proceeded to get on what must
have been his daughters bike. Pink and purple streamers
on the handle bars, a long pink and purple seat also.As
he peddled away his legs barely missed the handle bars.
One of the funnest sites I have every seen.

My wife heard what he said and said he has no right to talk.
If he only knew how he looked he wouldn't. To this day when
me and my wife talk about that we laugh. I am not really sure
but honestly I think my Aussie was laughing to. LOL

Point is some idiots like to talk about others when they shouldn't
Trying to deflect the attention away from their own miserable lives
sometimes. If they are miserable they try and make everyone else
that way. Misery loves company like the old saying goes.

Hope you are doing well

Never place anyone on a pedestal it hurts more when they fall off
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