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 4259

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