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Explaining lack of interest in communicating to family

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Explaining lack of interest in communicating to family

Postby nis » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:25 am

I was wondering how other people deal with family members who expect and/or demand regular communication. I have zero interest in maintaining contact with family, yet they become extremely upset with me if I stop communicating. Do you just force yourself to text/email them regularly just to make them happy?
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Re: Explaining lack of interest in communicating to family

Postby naps » Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:44 pm

I kept in touch just enough just enough to let them know I was alive and protect my sanity at the same time. Christmas and Thanksgiving were requirements, a one-two punch that always left me drained and miserable by the time New Years rolled around. Apparently that wasn't enough, and my aloofness and disinterest were interpreted as irresponsibility.

They didn't lend much credence to things like the earth being round or psychiatry, so I couldn't play the mental illness card. One year I was having difficulties and I couldn't do Christmas. I just could not deal with it that year. My mother said she'd have my brother drop my Christmas presents off (never mind the fact that I didn't get any of them anything) and a couple days after Christmas I opened my door to find a little pile of presents dumped in the hallway outside of my apartment.

Visiting was an ordeal. I had nothing to say to any of them. But I made the effort nonetheless because I actually feared that if I didn't, I'd be written out of their will. Which I was anyway.
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Re: Explaining lack of interest in communicating to family

Postby Cholls » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:32 pm

naps wrote:... But I made the effort nonetheless because I actually feared that if I didn't, I'd be written out of their will. Which I was anyway.

That sucks, naps.

One of the best things I have done is completely cease all holiday observances.

Consequently, the holidays, formerly sources of stress and depression, have now become times of peace. The bank teller (is "teller" now politically incorrect?) asked me if I was ready for the holidays, and what sprang out of my mouth as though from a Pez dispenser was, "We don't do dat bull $h1t.". This particular bank employee is way cool, seemed to know what I meant, and laughed.

Throughout my childhood, my 'mother'--my one living (if you call it living) biological relative--repeatedly threatened me (for no reason) with, "You just wait. I'll fix you. I'll fix you but good.".

OK, I'll take your word for it. Cutting that FAQ in Qunt out of my life was the single best decision I have ever made.

If you dread contacting your family, you probably do so for good reason.

Just stop doing it.

If they're gonna remember you in their will, they will. If they're not, they won't. They're gonna do what they're gonna do.

If they have made peace with life, chances are they will remember you. If they die filled with bitterness and hate, chances are they won't.

How your family treats you in their will will be a good indication of whether or not they 'saw the Light' before kicking the bucket. And no amount of holiday sucking-up (particularly if it's reluctant) on your part is gonna turn $piteful, manipulative, conditional 'love' into the healing, accepting, magnanimous Real Deal.
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Re: Explaining lack of interest in communicating to family

Postby naps » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:18 pm

Cholls wrote:the holidays, formerly sources of stress and depression, have now become times of peace.


It's been about 7 years since my last family member croaked, and I'm sad to say the holidays have just become another day off. But for the first few years, spending them home alone was a euphoric blessing.

Consequently, the holidays, formerly sources of stress and depression, have now become times of peace. The bank teller (is "teller" now politically incorrect?) asked me if I was ready for the holidays, and what sprang out of my mouth as though from a Pez dispenser was, "We don't do dat bull $h1t.". This particular bank employee is way cool, seemed to know what I meant, and laughed.


I believe "Consumerist Enabler Person" is the correct term these days. And that's a good response. My problem is that I'm usually too polite. I make up some cozy Christmas scenario that makes people who ask that stupid question (or the alternate: "What are you doing for the holidays?") say "Oh how nice." Yeah, well ###$ you. Usually it's clients, so I can't be rude. I will try that line in other situations, though. It's a pretty good conversation ender. I find questions like that offensive, probably because in most situations I don't have the courage to answer the way I'd like. I've found one of the best ways to short-circuit someone's brain is to answer an annoying question with an offensive one:

So, are you all ready for the holidays?

So, do you make a lot of noise when you climax?

Throughout my childhood, my 'mother'--my one living (if you call it living) biological relative--repeatedly threatened me (for no reason) with, "You just wait. I'll fix you. I'll fix you but good.".


Same here. There was always a feeling of threat in the air. Living with my family was like being in a horror movie stalking scene that went on forever.

How your family treats you in their will will be a good indication of whether or not they 'saw the Light' before kicking the bucket. And no amount of holiday sucking-up (particularly if it's reluctant) on your part is gonna turn $piteful, manipulative, conditional 'love' into the healing, accepting, magnanimous Real Deal.


Yes, thank you Captain Hindsight. :D

I should have known better. Fake smiles and covert backstabbing aside, I can be easily susceptible to gaslighting. I should have demanded to see the will. I was told I was in it and my half of the estate was hung over my head as a deterrent to, well, be myself. All in all it was a learning experience, but some learning experiences can do more harm than good.
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Re: Explaining lack of interest in communicating to family

Postby orinoco » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:12 pm

Whenever my family or relatives invited me to celebrate something with
them, I explained to them that what they do enjoy, means fear and
stress to me and that there is nothing they or I can do about it. I'm
sure they did not get it 100% as our emotional world are totally
different and they can't feel like I do. But at least they stopped
inviting me on the big events.
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Re: Explaining lack of interest in communicating to family

Postby emillionth » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:37 pm

My parents refuse to be on Facebook, and my father refuses to have any type of cell phone (my mother gave him a dumbphone a couple years ago, he immediately put it in a drawer and just left it there). So I guess that sets some good precedent for me. These days I actually see them in person every week and it's not a chore for me, but I guess it's only because it doesn't feel like an obligation.

What bothers me is the artificiality of "special days". But I think that, through my consistency, my family has learned to see it for how it is: if their culture and their religion celebrate those dates, "my religion" just doesn't. Birthdays especially. I don't acknowledge anyone's birthdays, just as I don't acknowledge my own.

Also mothers' and fathers' day, same thing. (Again, my father himself is kinda cynical about the commercial nature of those days, so that helps.) And if I show up for christmas, they know that I'm doing it as a favor. (And fortunately that's the only major "family holiday" where I live.)

I think they can see that I'm generally in a much better mood and actually end up participating more when I have the chance to do it by choice. Otherwise it's just a ghost speaking/showing up on my behalf.
Is this now?
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Re: Explaining lack of interest in communicating to family

Postby iabsurdlyexist » Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:25 pm

I feel like I didn't care enough to communicate and they didn't expect it. I guess it worked out in a dysfunctional way. If they are sour about it, I have no idea. Being a couple states away once I turned 18 might have helped.
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Re: Explaining lack of interest in communicating to family

Postby nis » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:27 pm

My problem is that my relatives did not do anything hurtful to me, so cutting them off completely is harder than if they were abusive. I simply don't have an interest in interacting with people, including family. It has nothing to do with the way they treated me in the past, I'm simply not interested - but how to explain this to family who have no concept of SPD? It would be quite unkind and hurtful for me to say, "I just have no interest in communicating with you", but that is the truth.
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Re: Explaining lack of interest in communicating to family

Postby Akuma » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:08 pm

nis wrote:My problem is that my relatives did not do anything hurtful to me, so cutting them off completely is harder than if they were abusive. I simply don't have an interest in interacting with people, including family. It has nothing to do with the way they treated me in the past, I'm simply not interested - but how to explain this to family who have no concept of SPD? It would be quite unkind and hurtful for me to say, "I just have no interest in communicating with you", but that is the truth.


If they have no concept of it then either have you not told them about it, in which case it would be a useful start to actually do so, or they dont care about you as a person, else they would've informed themselves about the illness you have - which again might give you more incentive to be assertive.
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Re: Explaining lack of interest in communicating to family

Postby iabsurdlyexist » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:43 pm

nis wrote: It would be quite unkind and hurtful for me to say, "I just have no interest in communicating with you", but that is the truth.


I'm fairly blunt but I wouldn't be direct like that. I have no idea how that would come up though. Do they constantly call you and ask questions? If so, I guess I'd answer but not provide further conversation. After awhile, they'd get a hint that the conversations were going nowhere so the calls would get further and further apart. My understanding is that people get hints based on your conversation style. Maybe you are more forthcoming than you think? It's rare for me to have full on conversations with people. A lot of them are one sided.
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