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LeKook

Family members who dislike each other immensely

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My family should win an award for being dysfunctional.

It's hard for me to convey how bad I feel when I'm in church and there are talks and testimonies about how happy families are to be sealed together in eternity and how this is "The Most Important Thing". It's what everyone should want, or so that's the gist I'm getting.

But this doesn't apply to my family. No one in my family even likes the other, and over the years, no matter what effort I make to try to bring family together, it all ends in disaster.

The problem is that none of my siblings, or my even my parents (father and stepmother) like or trust each other. The more time goes by, the more distant they all become from one another.

Even if given the opportunity, not one of these people would want to spend eternity with the others. I would venture a guess that they'd rather spend eternity in any other family but our own!

Is my family the only one out here like this? I pray for them. I focus on the good qualities of each person. I have somewhat tentative relationships with all of them, and try to keep the peace, and stay in touch with each. But none of them wants to talk to each other, see each other, or even be within driving distance of the other.

Thoughts, anyone?

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I'm sorry your family isn't close. My entire family isn't like that but there are some that are not on good terms. However, I think all families are dysfunctional.

Sometimes all you can do is plan for the future. Identify the cycle and how can you break it so future generations can have a loving and happy family.

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My family puts the "funk" in dysfunctional, LOL!!

Seriously, it sort of makes me feel like an outcast where the church is concerned... not only can't I feel the intensity of the love I see in many of the families in my own ward, but I see a lot of failure on my part to get things put back together. Yeah, I know it's not all MY responsibility to get the family back on track, but after so many failed attempts, it just feels like my failure, you know?

I just can't get people who don't trust each other to trust each other again. I talk to my immediate family once a month, sometimes more, but that seems to be all they can deal with. My extended family (uncles, aunts, cousins) I have no relationships with because of things my immediate family did to destroy their trust. So here I sit. For my part in the mess, I have apologized to each and made my peace with them. But all the relationships are compartmentalized; none of them wants me to ever say a word about what they are doing or how they are to another. It's a mess. :tears:

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Guest mormonmusic

I feel that way all the time. After I joined the Church, and got married in the temple without them, things started going down the tubes. they are non-members, and Evangelicals. Then I moved 150 miles away which hasn't helped much. And then, on the Mormon in-law side, I found out they were lazy around the house, snappy with each other (something my wife inherited), may mother-in-law so bossy I can barely stand to be in her presence, immoral some of them....and it goes on.

My faith lies in the fact that we have all of eternity ahead of us, and that a lot can change as the decades and even centuries after this life go by.

For example, my brother-in-law has done a complete about face in many areas of his life, earned a trade, got married to a really level headed girl, got married in the temple, is a decent father. Also, my wife has dropped many of the family values she came in with that were extremely unChristlike -- after we talked about them and made them "conscious" so to speak....and now, my daughter is turning into a worderful, kind, hardworking young woman, free of these in-law family values. There is a slow purge going on. Meanwhile some of the good stuff from her upbringing is working pretty well in our family -- stuff I wouldn't have been able to transmit to the next generation.

I think the key is to get some physical distance between you and the family that aren't clicking. Make deposits into the relationship at a distance through cards, gifts for major events, and showing kindness and compassion when the other family members have needs (like helping care for someone, or help them pack and move). Don't buy into the mistrust, sidebar conversations about each other, or getting close to situations which can hurt the trust.

I stay away from my in-laws as much as possible as bad reality television happens when we get close to them for too long.

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Wow your story sounds so familiar to mine. I joined the church over 25 years ago. My family was much the same way. I generally stayed away from them until my own tesitmony was strong enough to handle and deal with all their issues.

It got to the point where I felt sorry for my family. I had to start looking at them in a different way. Believe me I got many comments that I joined a cult and why wasn't the Holy Bible good enough, etc etc. I also knew that if any change were to happen, then it had to start with myself.

I had a blessing once and in it the Lord told me to have faith and patience. At first I thought it was about my faith in Christ, the gospel, etc. But I learned later that it was to have faith and patience for my own family. Some major things happened later on that I would NEVER believe.

My sister who spurned any church whatsoever, became interested in learning more..she was the one I thought would take an eternity to come around but it was through her that things in my family started to change. Are they members? no, they are not. But they have a much more positive light about Mormons, the church, etc. We all now get along and have learned to trust one another. Of course, I had outside help and influences in this that I was unaware of. I think the Lord was working on my family through my own prayers. They were influenced by other members of the church - that I had no knowledge of. People they later met and had respect for, viewing their lives and their examples helped my family in ways I could not believe.

One thing that made my sister change her tune was really my own life. She saw how happy I was and through my example, then her change came about. She had many failed marriages, various fights with my parents, etc. Her change actually helped the entire family to change and learn to trust one another. There are still issues. But at least now we can talk about them.

My advice to you is the same advice I was given. Never lose hope and faith that things can change for your family. I often thought it would take a miracle for my family to be on speaking terms and it truly happened. If anyone can work miracles, the Lord can. :)

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I've learned not to bother sending cards or gifts -- whenever I do I get phone calls from whomever I send them to, they ask me why I sent this or that particular card or gift ("Did you mean something bad by sending me THAT?"). Usually I just call on special occasions and the calls are as brief and light as I can make them. My family is (rabidly!) anti-LDS and at this stage they don't even know I've been baptized. I had to discuss this with my Bishop, because it really bothered me not to say anything to them. But the sheer toxicity and distance in the relationships is reason enough that they don't need to be told right now. I'd much rather tell them in person as I do occasionally see them. It's likely they would take my baptism as the ultimate betrayal. Not like at this point there'd be much to lose as far as relationships go.

The last time I spoke to my Dad, after another recent major family-related fracas, he said, "I love you, everything is okay here." I wanted to say back to him, "I love you too, Dad, but how can everything be okay when I get physically ill just seeing your number on the caller ID?" Because I know if he calls more than once a month, it's drama, usually started by my stepmother. They're in Idaho; I'm in Maryland. I need to deal with this why, exactly?

Just sharing what goes through my head when all this stuff starts blowing up. My Dad is 82 and I miss him terribly. I don't visit him because his wife is just impossible to spend more than a couple hours with, and she won't let him come here by himself. So I'm looking at potentially never seeing my father in person again. Last time I saw him was 6 years ago.

My brothers (by blood) are easier to deal with, they do try to get along and mostly do, but once anything about the parents gets brought up, the drama begins there, too. Plus they are dealing with losing their jobs and homes just like I did.

I have a half brother who never speaks to me, and I still don't know why, one stepsister who never communicates and has too many of her own emotional issues to contend with, and another stepsister who, thankfully, I am very close to even though we don't see eye to eye on religion. She knows I am baptized but broke off ties with my Dad years ago because of her mother (my stepmother). She has no relationship with her mother at all. I think it's been close to 12 years since they've made any attempt to communicate. She doesn't speak to my brothers or vice versa, though I don't think there's much contention there, they just drifted apart.

All that to say, it's a mess. LOL!!! And rather than dealing with constant stomach ulcers by trying to deal with them, I've found it's much better to not deal with them to the extent that I am able, and leave it at that.

It's just weird, belong to a church that is so pro-family, and not having (much) of a family at all. I think of my family as my husband and our dog, LOL!!! :)

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Not the only one. I have sometimes wondered "why would some people want to be sealed for eternity to people they can't even stand for mortaility?"

I think sometimes we spend a lot of effort to get a wonderul estate in the next life and so little time maintaining the estate we already have.

-RM

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I find I have to focus a lot on just my family that I'm the mother of. Other wise it just gets too insane, depressing and weird. A little family tid bit for you. When I was sealed to my family when I was 10 I remember thinking that I really didn't want to hold my 5 year old sisters hand during the ceremony because I hated her. Now we're awesome friends. Perhaps some people are just stuck in that mind set a little longer.

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It's hard for me to convey how bad I feel when I'm in church and there are talks and testimonies about how happy families are to be sealed together in eternity and how this is "The Most Important Thing". It's what everyone should want, or so that's the gist I'm getting.

I know a woman who grew up in an incestuous family. She was abused from 9-13 or so. The whole family would go to church, and she'd sing "families can be together forever", and she'd listen to the lessons about how you want to remain chaste and how you're less attractive to good people when you are immodest. Then everyone would go home, and she'd have to spend some time in the basement with her older teenage brother.

Yeah, she knows a little about dysfunction. And no, neither she nor you are alone. There are plenty of dysfunctional families out there of all sizes and types of melodrama.

I pray for them. I focus on the good qualities of each person. I have somewhat tentative relationships with all of them, and try to keep the peace, and stay in touch with each.

...

Thoughts, anyone?

Sounds like you have it figured out. No, it's not easy. You can't fix them.

But you don't have to worry about people who hate each other, being forced to be around each other for eternity. That's not how it works. There's good reason for hope - even if someone leaves the earth without ever getting a clue.

This lady I know, writes it up like this: She would really like all those people to be healthy enough to make it to heaven. In the meantime, she'll work on getting herself there, which means doing her best to give up all the stress and rage and grief and blame, so she can just live a good life. Their lives are not up to her.

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There were six of us. Three boys and three girls. My father raped and beat my mom while mentally breaking her to the point of attempted suicide and she ended up abandoning us to the psychotic whims of my father for ten years. We connected with her again while she went through another turbulent relationship with another man until she met with another who she married and is now somewhat stabilized while battling manic depression and anxiety. I myself have been struggling with apathetic suicidal tendencies as well as schizophrenia and psychosis. I'm quite frankly amazed that I've been able to hold down a fifteen year relationship with a beautiful woman and am capable of running a corporation without blowing my top lol. And yet I'm still unable to maintain contact with my remaining siblings. Our own family lives have made us drift farther apart, but I'm thinking it's more that we came to know each other all too well and we don't want our kids rubbing off on each other. 

We are all successful in our own right minus the youngest brother who is on his second backslide with methamphetamines. I fear this time it might kill him since he was diagnosed with HIV in 2003. Hes dropped weight dramatically in just a month. 

My point is, that as much as we want to love them, some people are past the point of the love and relationships we envision them in. But we can continue to love them.

Edited by Carnal

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Don't worry, you are not alone. I thought I was so thank you for posting this! my sister and dad have the most toxic relationship out of all of us and it kills me to see or be in one of their arguments. I honestly think  that one day it will all end and we can all be open minded (my family just pretends to be open minded). Love you lots!!!! 

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It sounds like you have done all you could.  and really, the other family members have a responsibility they aren't shouldering and its not your job to tell them or anything like that.  You are nice to them, you've made peace, tried, and gone out on a limb.  They will one day look back and see that you were the one who tried.  You have opened the path.  Maybe sometime someone will come down your path because you paved it, but at least you have done your part and are there.

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