Family of Origin Toxicity


I just got off the phone with my sister, Wendy. She called “to find out what time we’re supposed to be at Mom’s tomorrow.”

Now, she and her husband just spent two weeks living with Mom and Dad in the gap between closing the sale of their old house and the new house being ready for move-in. They moved this weekend. Wendy is the QUEEN of organization. There’s no way in hell she doesn’t already have that information.

No, the reason she called was to try to guilt me into going tomorrow night.

I cut off all contact with our brother, Matt, around the end of May of this year. He was an asshole and extremely insulting to me, Sam, our religion(s), homeschooling—you name it. Now, he’s been an asshole for years, and while I love him greatly, I finally realized that he is simply toxic and he isn’t someone I want in our lives. I explained to him—very calmly—that while I have absolutely no expectation of him ever respecting our beliefs, I expect him to act respectfully towards us and our beliefs, and to be civil. Basically, to do what I expect of anyone with whom we choose to interact. He refused and got more verbally abusive, and I cut off all contact with him.

I did not talk to the rest of the family about it, as that would be ridiculous drama-mongering triangulation. It wasn’t between me and my parents or sister—it was between me and Matt. Period.

Well, apparently he didn’t feel the same way (not surprising), and he’s been nattering away about my vileness to Wendy.

One of The Unspoken Rules that we grew up with is that women do all the accommodating. We aren’t allowed to have boundaries, you see—we’re supposed to do all the giving, all the changing, all the flexing to suit everybody else.

I changed. I broke the rules. I had to, or I probably wouldn’t even be alive right now, and I definitely wouldn’t be anything close to as healthy and happy as I am.

When one person in a dysfunctional relationship changes, the other person (or people) makes one attempt after another to get that person to go back to “normal”—play your part from the script, dammit! That’s not the way it goes!

Matt is too proud to apologize. He sure as hell isn’t about to change how he behaves if there’s any way at all to just get what he wants otherwise. So he’s called in Wendy. Now me not going to Mom’s house tomorrow is “being mean to Mom” and “taking Christmas away from Katie.”

Wendy repeatedly said, “Well I know you’re too stubborn to apologize.” I said “No, if I did something for which I owed anyone an apology, I’d apologize. But I didn’t—I just set and maintained healthy boundaries. And I don’t feel bad or guilty about that at all.”

The fact that I do NOT want Katie to let anyone treat her that way, or to pick up that stupid rule, is totally beside the point. I’m just mean. And hey, being around our family didn’t REALLY hurt us, now did it?

Oh no—those rules just led to accepting abuse in other relationships, to start with. But of course, that’s nobody’s fault but mine, because I’m the Black Sheep.


The girls are with Mom today. Whenever she brings them back, I’m going to have to have a very difficult conversation with her.

Now, I have a ready-made excuse that Mom would almost certainly accept. We are leaving tonight to go up to goddessinga and greyknight‘s house to spend the day with GiG and the kids tomorrow so that she doesn’t overdo anything while greyknight is at work. I have no idea when we’ll get back. The easy way out would be to give her that excuse. It would not, however, be the honest thing to do. And I owe her honesty, even if she doesn’t want it. (sigh)


Current Mood: 🙁depressed
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
Posts created 4262

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