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Clear boundaries lead to better family relations

answered 02:15 AM EST, Wed April 06, 2016
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anonymous anonymous
Hi Thanks for your message. the family dynamics is what is happening you are right.

My romantic relationship that was supportive on the side has been complex now too as it really was initiated (this was an ex boyfriend from years ago who as a friend I have been in touch with on and off as my real estate agent) I ran to him when these things with family made me run away.

over the years I have realized how supportive he has been and my feelings and decisions though real in terms of wanting a long term thing with him, have been clouded by my neediness and vulnerability due to my family drama. This has caused me to get too close to fast and now back track, didn't completely sleep with him but pulled back, now he is distant and he has been my support system.

I have asked him about it now as he knows I was vulnerable and though it was his idea to take it slow now so he would also know my feelings for him are real, I need him during this time and his support is invaluable to me.

As for counseling I have gone to counseling because of need to figure out healthy relationships (as didn't see it in my family) on and off for years. CBT has helped me but my family I cannot change. They would never come to counseling with me and I feel like they may go on their own and that's fine but you are right that communication is a big issue and not listening to each other.

But my brother will listen to my mom, but not to me, my sister out of helplessness and really evil I would say paints my mom and I as the crazy ones since she has big issues with my mom and because I don't allow her to use me or manipulate me. it's so unhealthy I need my sister to be cut off and the only people I could work on are my mom to the extent possible (and I have told her any drama she brings into my life I will not participate in not over text not in person not in any way) which has for now at least made her tone it down a bit. She is more vocal and rude to me when her family is around her and she takes their side over me. The danger with her is she has no borders, no respect for privacy that has caused many issues; I cannot trust her with any info If I am upset with a family member and I tell her, she goes and attacks them, the same happened when she told my brother and he attacked me, so this not dealing with the person directly is a big issue. I will only deal with the person directly in future if I choose to have a relationship at any distance, but I can't change them, they will continue as they have.....it's unhealthy. I needed to get out.

even though my brother and mother have reached out to me, I am uncomfortable with both of them still, but time is helping me get a bit easier with my mom, but just texting I still don't want to talk to her.

when she calls I don't pick up avoiding her. But I know I need to see her and even if small time frames at a time communicate with her. the trust is so low I haven't let her know where I live just that I am in a nice new place nearby. I don't trust her to keep it to herself and tell my brother who might show up here.

I don't trust him now as way he attacked me verbally condescending over text because of my mom. So he and I am not sure how I can deal with all these all at once, so I am letting myself have distance and jsut taking mini steps with my mom now. and will allow her to only treat me with respect and no drama and act healthy or it will affect our relationship she needs to understand.

with my brother not sure what can happen....he has embarassed me in front of our family and and bullied me I feel and even though we had zero issues before these dramas he and I get pulled into, and my sister painting me as someone I am not, he gets affected by that and that bothers me a lot.......

it's too much all of it to handle at once, so I can only handle what I can and step back.
I want to move on with my life too as I am looking for work, during this whole ordeal I was also fired, I know I was distracted at work but also in a new industry I didn't think was the right fit for me so it's ok but I need to focus to find new work and handle this romantic relationship too.....

Penny Bell Says...

Penny Bell P. Bell
Master of Counselling, Grad Dip Counselling, Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy, MACA
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It sounds as if you have been able to establish some firm boundaries around yourself where your family is concerned, and in particular with your mum, with whom you are feeling courageous enough to risk working on a relationship. It's much easier to walk away than it is to work on a relationship that is peppered with hazards, so good on you for persevering. She's your mum, after all, and troubled as she may be, you two have a bond that is special and as you have said, worth hanging on to. If you stick to owning yourself in your family relationships, commit to owning yourself rather than trying to change others or allow others to own you, you will be able to keep those clear boundaries and limits and that should keep your anxiety levels down. There is always that pull from family members to fuse with them, to take sides with them against another or to take the blame for something, and owning yourself by making sure you resist that pull will help you differentiate from the family fusion and become interdependent rather than codependent. I feel as if I'm telling you something you already know though - so well done, keep on doing what you're doing, and I wish you all the best with your relationship with your mum.

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Page last updated Apr 06, 2016

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Penny Bell - Master of Counselling, Grad Dip Counselling, Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy, MACA
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