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Old Jun 26, 2008, 10:14 PM
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Joined Feb 2000
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Crazy Family

Looking for some advice or someone who can relate. Actually at this point I am just looking for confirmation that I am not insane.

Thanks for all the advice, you can always get good stuff on here. Most of it I already employ, at least I'm not alone.

Figured I delete the evidence just in case. Maybe I'm not insane and just paranoid.
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 10:42 PM
is it flying time?
Jerry Combs's Avatar
Wyandotte Oklahoma
Joined Oct 2004
2,777 Posts
Strouse, you are NOT crazy. I will only comment that your sisters issues and / or immaturity seem to be more and more common. I have no advise.
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 11:12 PM
Pedal Power!
lakedude's Avatar
the lake
Joined Oct 2002
1,095 Posts
Even if you were crazy calling you so would be a violation of the site rules. I read your post twice to see if I was missing something your sisters had done that could be considered worse than merely annoying. Nope, you have annoying sisters, welcome to the club. Sisters are like that.

You seriously need to get over whatever happened 15 years ago.
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 11:15 PM
Out of Time
United States, TX
Joined Jul 2003
1,092 Posts
All sounds pretty "normal family" to me.

Well, not normal... more like "typical".

HF
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 11:25 PM
Don't look at me like that....
62pilot's Avatar
United States, AR, McDougal
Joined Aug 2005
2,801 Posts
It's very common for folks to treat the girls differently than the boys in the family. Not to bad mouth your parents, but it would seam it's not all your sisters fault.

First off, if your not comfortable with your kids being around your siblings, then don't let that happen again. But be sure to express your desires to your parents.
Also, remember, you can pick your freinds, but you can't pick your family.
Try to make incounters with your sisters positive ones. Someday you will miss them.

But if all else fails, cut your looses. Maby they will "grow up " soon.

And last, your not alone, sounds like you have a normal American family. The disfunctional ones are those that think they have no problems.





Tom
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 11:33 PM
characters welcome!
Mark Wood's Avatar
United States, CA, Bear Valley Springs
Joined Feb 2000
26,500 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by 62.5pilot
And last, your not alone, sounds like you have a normal American family. The disfunctional ones are those that think they have no problems.
Then there's my bunch. We're a bit dysfunctional but we laugh like hell about it while society tries to figure us out.

mw
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 11:43 PM
fix-it-up chappie
tolladay's Avatar
Valley Village, CA
Joined Jan 2002
2,262 Posts
All families are screwed up. If you dig a bit, I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone with a "sane" family.

From reading between the lines it sounds like you have serious issues with your sisters. Possibly for good reason, but I can't tell. What I can say is that you have put your parents in the middle of this, by demanding they pay attention to your children, and not to those of either sister.

Life is hard, and families are nuts. You may choose to not talk to you sisters (heck, I don't talk to my own father), but you really do not want to put your parents in the position of having to juggle both them and you. It's more stress on your parents that they do not need, and it's too much stress on you trying to manage them.

Give that stuff up. If you must make sure your kids do not see their cousins (which I cannot fathom why) then have your parents watch your kids at your house. Otherwise give up on trying to control where they go and whom they see while watching your kids.

From experience I can tell you that feuds between bothers and sisters are amazingly common. That, and they can only continue if both sides want it to. If you don't want to see your sisters, then say so. Don't blame their behavior, just decide what you want, and do it. And keep your parents out of it if you can. They (your parents) are adults, and have the right to screw up their lives anyway they want. If they want to wipe your sisters back sides every day, then let them. Sounds boring to me, but some people need to have drama in their life. (isn't reality TV enough?)

We live pretty far from my nearest family member (about 3 hours by car). There are times when I wish they were closer, and times when they're not far enough. That distance is no accident. Its far enough that we don't have to deal with their day-to-day drama, but it also means we miss out on the free baby-sitting. So far it's slightly more good than bad.
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 11:51 PM
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Usta Bee's Avatar
Joined Jul 2004
3,775 Posts
you think YOU'VE got problems.... I was doing yard work the other day and managed to get poison ivy on my arms and legs. That would be bad enough but I also must not have washed my hands before stopping to taking a leak, and now I've got poison ivy where you REALLY don't want poison ivy.
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 12:02 AM
All under control, Grommit!
leccyflyer's Avatar
United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
12,674 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by tolladay
All families are screwed up. If you dig a bit, I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone with a "sane" family.

From reading between the lines it sounds like you have serious issues with your sisters. Possibly for good reason, but I can't tell. What I can say is that you have put your parents in the middle of this, by demanding they pay attention to your children, and not to those of either sister.

Life is hard, and families are nuts. You may choose to not talk to you sisters (heck, I don't talk to my own father), but you really do not want to put your parents in the position of having to juggle both them and you. It's more stress on your parents that they do not need, and it's too much stress on you trying to manage them.

Give that stuff up. If you must make sure your kids do not see their cousins (which I cannot fathom why) then have your parents watch your kids at your house. Otherwise give up on trying to control where they go and whom they see while watching your kids.

From experience I can tell you that feuds between bothers and sisters are amazingly common. That, and they can only continue if both sides want it to. If you don't want to see your sisters, then say so. Don't blame their behavior, just decide what you want, and do it. And keep your parents out of it if you can. They (your parents) are adults, and have the right to screw up their lives anyway they want. If they want to wipe your sisters back sides every day, then let them. Sounds boring to me, but some people need to have drama in their life. (isn't reality TV enough?)

We live pretty far from my nearest family member (about 3 hours by car). There are times when I wish they were closer, and times when they're not far enough. That distance is no accident. Its far enough that we don't have to deal with their day-to-day drama, but it also means we miss out on the free baby-sitting. So far it's slightly more good than bad.
Really can't say it any better than that.

Tolladay you sure do have that head of your's screwed on straight- as always in these matters your advice is completely bang-on.
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 12:04 AM
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Usta Bee's Avatar
Joined Jul 2004
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The need for attention

Human beings are social creatures and need social interaction, feedback, and validation of their worth. The emotionally mature person doesn't need to go hunting for these; they gain it naturally from their daily life, especially from their work and from stable relationships. Daniel Goleman calls emotional maturity emotional intelligence, or EQ; he believes, and I agree, that EQ is a much better indicator of a person's character and value than intelligence quotient, or IQ.

The emotionally immature person, however, has low levels of self-esteem and self-confidence and consequently feels insecure; to counter these feelings of insecurity they will spend a large proportion of their lives creating situations in which they become the centre of attention. It may be that the need for attention is inversely proportional to emotional maturity, therefore anyone indulging in attention-seeking behaviours is telling you how emotionally immature they are.

Attention-seeking behaviour is surprisingly common. Being the centre of attention alleviates feelings of insecurity and inadequacy but the relief is temporary as the underlying problem remains unaddressed: low self-confidence and low self-esteem, and consequent low levels of self-worth and self-love.

Insecure and emotionally immature people often exhibit bullying behaviours, especially manipulation and deception. These are necessary in order to obtain attention which would not otherwise be forthcoming. Bullies and harassers have the emotional age of a young child and will exhibit temper tantrums, deceit, lying and manipulation to avoid exposure of their true nature and to evade accountability and sanction. This page lists some of the most common tactics bullies and manipulators employ to gain attention for themselves. An attention-seeker may exhibit several of the methods listed below.

Attention seeking methods

Attention-seeking is particularly noticeable with females so I've used the pronoun "she". Males also exhibit attention-seeking behaviour.

Attention seekers commonly exploit the suffering of others to gain attention for themselves. Or they may exploit their own suffering, or alleged suffering. In extreme forms, such as in Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, the attention-seeker will deliberately cause suffering to others as a means of gaining attention.

The sufferer: this might include feigning or exaggerating illness, playing on an injury, or perhaps causing or inviting injury, in extreme cases going as far as losing a limb. Severe cases may meet the diagnostic criteria for Munchausen Syndrome (also know as Factitious Disorder). The illness or injury becomes a vehicle for gaining sympathy and thus attention. The attention-seeker excels in manipulating people through their emotions, especially that of guilt. It's very difficult not to feel sorry for someone who relates a plausible tale of suffering in a sob story or "poor me" drama.

The saviour: in attention-seeking personality disorders like Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (MSBP, also known as Factitious Disorder By Proxy) the person, usually female, creates opportunities to be centre of attention by intentionally causing harm to others and then being their saviour, by saving their life, and by being such a caring, compassionate person. Few people realise the injury was deliberate. The MSBP mother or nurse may kill several babies before suspicions are aroused. When not in saviour mode, the saviour may be resentful, perhaps even contemptuous, of the person or persons she is saving.

The rescuer: particularly common in family situations, she's the one who will dash in and "rescue" people whenever the moment is opportune - to herself, that is. She then gains gratification from basking in the glory of her humanitarian actions. She will prey on any person suffering misfortune, infirmity, illness, injury, or anyone who has a vulnerability. The act of rescue and thus the opportunities for gaining attention can be enhanced if others are excluded from the act of rescue; this helps create a dependency relationship between the rescuer and rescued which can be exploited for further acts of rescue (and attention) later. When not in rescue mode, the rescuer may be resentful, perhaps even contemptuous, of the person she is rescuing.

The organiser: she may present herself as the one in charge, the one organising everything, the one who is reliable and dependable, the one people can always turn to. However, the objective is not to help people (this is only a means to an end) but to always be the centre of attention.

The manipulator: she may exploit family relationships, manipulating others with guilt and distorting perceptions; although she may not harm people physically, she causes everyone to suffer emotional injury. Vulnerable family members are favourite targets. A common attention-seeking ploy is to claim she is being persecuted, victimised, excluded, isolated or ignored by another family member or group, perhaps insisting she is the target of a campaign of exclusion or harassment.

The mind-poisoner: adept at poisoning peoples' minds by manipulating their perceptions of others, especially against the current target.

The drama queen: every incident or opportunity, no matter how insignificant, is exploited, exaggerated and if necessary distorted to become an event of dramatic proportions. Everything is elevated to crisis proportions. Histrionics may be present where the person feels she is not the centre of attention but should be. Inappropriate flirtatious behaviour may also be present.

The busy bee: this individual is the busiest person in the world if her constant retelling of her life is to be believed. Everyday events which are regarded as normal by normal people take on epic proportions as everyone is invited to simultaneously admire and commiserate with this oh-so-busy person who never has a moment to herself, never has time to sit down, etc. She's never too busy, though, to tell you how busy she is.

The feigner: when called to account and outwitted, the person instinctively uses the denial - counterattack - feigning victimhood strategy to manipulate everyone present, especially bystanders and those in authority. The most effective method of feigning victimhood is to burst into tears, for most people's instinct is to feel sorry for them, to put their arm round them or offer them a tissue. There's little more plausible than real tears, although as actresses know, it's possible to turn these on at will. Feigners are adept at using crocodile tears. From years of practice, attention-seekers often give an Oscar-winning performance in this respect. Feigning victimhood is a favourite tactic of bullies and harassers to evade accountability and sanction. When accused of bullying and harassment, the person immediately turns on the water works and claims they are the one being bullied or harassed - even though there's been no prior mention of being bullied or harassed. It's the fact that this claim appears only after and in response to having been called to account that is revealing. Mature adults do not burst into tears when held accountable for their actions.

The false confessor: this person confesses to crimes they haven't committed in order to gain attention from the police and the media. In some cases people have confessed to being serial killers, even though they cannot provide any substantive evidence of their crimes. Often they will confess to crimes which have just been reported in the media. Some individuals are know to the police as serial confessors. The false confessor is different from a person who make a false confession and admits to a crime of which they are accused because of emotional pressure and inappropriate interrogation tactics.

The abused: a person claims they are the victim of abuse, sexual abuse, rape etc as a way of gaining attention for themselves. Crimes like abuse and rape are difficult to prove at the best of times and their incidence is so common that it is easy to make a plausible claim as a way of gaining attention.

The online victim: this person uses Internet chat rooms and forums to allege that they've been the victim of rape, violence, harassment, abuse etc. The alleged crime is never reported to the authorities, for obvious reasons. The facelessness and anonymity of the Internet suits this type of attention seeker. [More]

The victim: she may intentionally create acts of harassment against herself, eg send herself hate mail or damage her own possessions in an attempt to incriminate a fellow employee, a family member, neighbour, etc. Scheming, cunning, devious, deceptive and manipulative, she will identify her "harasser" and produce circumstantial evidence in support of her claim. She will revel in the attention she gains and use her glib charm to plausibly dismiss any suggestion that she herself may be responsible. However, a background check may reveal that this is not the first time she has had this happen to her.

In many cases the attention-seeker is a serial bully whose behaviour contains many of the characteristics listed under the profile of a serial bully, especially the Attention-Seeker. The page on Narcissistic Personality Disorder may also be enlightening, as may be the page on bullies in the family.

Feigning victimhood is common to serial bullies and this aspect comes to the fore in most cases once the bully has been held accountable and he or she cannot escape or rely on their support network. The tactic of denial followed by immediate counterattack followed by feigning victimhood is described on the serial bully page.

Attention seeking and narcissism

Like most personality disorders, narcissism occurs to different degrees in different people and reveals itself in many ways. Many business leaders exhibit narcissism, although when present in excess, the short-term benefits are outweighed by long-term unsustainability which can, and often does, lead to disaster.

The need for attention is paramount to the person with narcissistic personality disorder, and he or she will do anything to obtain that attention.
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 12:15 AM
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ni'ihau
Joined Nov 2003
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Strause,
Look through your newspaper for cheap airfares. Find the farthest away city you can get to for 100 dollars (one way). Move your family there. Fly your parents in for visits a couple of times a year. Interact with your sisters by way of e-mail.
jimbo
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 12:20 AM
fix-it-up chappie
tolladay's Avatar
Valley Village, CA
Joined Jan 2002
2,262 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Usta Bee
...now I've got poison ivy where you REALLY don't want poison ivy.
In three places?
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 12:22 AM
fix-it-up chappie
tolladay's Avatar
Valley Village, CA
Joined Jan 2002
2,262 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by leccyflyer
Really can't say it any better than that.

Tolladay you sure do have that head of your's screwed on straight- as always in these matters your advice is completely bang-on.
Thanks for the kudos It means a lot coming from you.

I figure I got the best advice money could buy, and since I was paying for it out of my pocket, I paid real close attention.
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 12:22 AM
fix-it-up chappie
tolladay's Avatar
Valley Village, CA
Joined Jan 2002
2,262 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eljimb0
Strause,
Look through your newspaper for cheap airfares. Find the farthest away city you can get to for 100 dollars (one way). Move your family there. Fly your parents in for visits a couple of times a year. Interact with your sisters by way of e-mail.
jimbo
Exactly. Like I said, three hours away.
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 12:38 AM
Darn trees!!!
Fairmont's Avatar
Atlanta, Georgia
Joined Mar 2008
427 Posts
First of all, if you're wondering whether you're crazy, then you're not. That's a classic sign of a healthy mind (wondering if abnormal behaviors are abnormal).

Okay, that sounded mixed up, but think about it this way: Let's say you have a dream that you do something really violent to someone you love. You wake up thinking, "That was horrible. I must be crazy."

The fact that you recognize certain thoughts or behaviors as odd or crazy means you are normal. We all have "crazy" thoughts, but very rarely act them out, and when we do, remorse is a sign of a healthy mind.


That said, your family doesn't sound that messed up (compared to most, I guess).

My sister is 43 and is still supported by my father. He pays her mortgage (actually, he bought the condo), bought her a new car, pays her tuition (yeah, still in school), and gives her money when she needs it.

I don't say much to him, because it's not my place, but I'd be shocked if she ever actually got a real job and supported herself.

Last time I went to visit my father in February, my sister (four years older than me) did everything she could to drive a wedge between us. I was only out there a week (I live on the other side of the country), but my sister couldn't let up, to the point of actually sitting in between us (even when my dad and I were practically touching legs while sitting on the couch), forcing each of us out a foot or two.

Very childish.

I have a stepbrother I grew up with too (no blood relation) who lost his mental facilities (for real) years ago. He now lives in a group home where he's medicated on a strict schedule. The medicine eliminates the auditory hallucinations (mostly) and stopped the violent behavior against pretty much everyone he came in contact with.

There's a reason I live on the other side of the country. I get along well with my in-laws here, but am thankful I'm not really in their family. It has its own set of politics that I work hard to avoid. They all like me, and I plan to keep it that way, because someone has to be the bad guy in that family. It's a given, and luckily it's not me right now.
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