My sister Kandi and her family are going to be here in less than 3 hours. The second she gets through the door I think I’m going to time how long it is before she says, “You’re weird, Shae,” and rolls her eyes. It always happens and always feels like the worst insult.
I’ve found myself in the same kind of situation. My Dad once asked me (in a kind of frustrated desperation) “Why can’t you just be normal?” It stung.
I take comfort in the fact that my husband and my friends love the things about me that lead other people to say things like that.
I have kind of the opposite. My parents are the overly supportive type. My mom’s the extra weird lady who will randomly tell strangers about the weird things that I do. I remember sitting at a restaurant a few years back and the waiter came to take our order and she looks at him and says “she has her tongue pierced” — it wasn’t an advisement. It’s been pierced for 12 years. She just likes bragging about my strangeness. Which is sweet, but equally awkward.
Verbal abuse and controlling behaviors are deeply damaging, because there is nothing overt, no name calling, no fists flying, This person knows you’d never stand for that, so he (or she) has to resort to more subtle tactics to gain control.
My (blessedly ex-)stepfather was like this.
He was a master of it. In fact, he was so good at it that you didn’t realize that he was manipulating you.
You came to accept his way of thinking because there was no other choice.
I have often said that I wish he would have just hit us, because that would have been clearly wrong. But instead he made us doubt ourselves, think less of ourselves, and accept that everyone else was the problem, not him.
It has taken years to get that part of my brain straightened out.
If you think this isn’t real, if you think it isn’t insidious, then please, come talk to me. I’ll be glad to explain it.
My mom was (is) like this. I haven’t spoken to her since 1992, and I get a knot in my stomach whenever I hear about this sort of thing.
I hate that we have this in common, but it’s probably part of the reason we’re siamese twins of the brain. So. There’s that at least. :)
I am the “break the cycle” personality in my family and so I refuse to put up with this kind of garbage anymore. It was difficult for the first few years that Ryan and I were together to endure this crap from his family. But finally he saw it my way, which is “you don’t have to take that” and once he believed it, he walked away. We maintained only the most peripheral contact with most of his family for the past 5 years, and I have to admit is was nice. It’s honestly amazing the kind of freedom you feel when you’re not under someone’s thumb. Although to most people it sounds “cold” and “mean” to walk away from your family - it’s sometimes the right thing to do.
This year, we’ve been slightly pulled back into the fray but we have set very clear boundaries and when they get tested, we walk away or hang up the phone. It’s like we’re training for the Emotionally Healthy Olympics. Fuck, it’s hard.