2nd Trimester

Baby in middle of dysfunction

I'm facing some family issues now that I'm pregnant. My marriage is doing great, but as far as my relationships with extended family members, I'm at my wits end. I've always hated dealing with the dysfunction in my family, but now that I'm pregnant and thinking about the life of my child, I'm becoming intolerant. I just need some advice on how to swiftly end the insanity.So my younger 25 year old sister let it drop that she hoped my kid has down syndrome. She said this during a time when we were happy and not fighting or anything.Then my mother, who has been very distant since ive become preggo, announces she bought me a stroller. I just thought she was coming around finally. When my husband and I go to look at it, my sister throws the dog in it and it pees in the stroller. She then didn't even care. She argued with me when I asked her to go get something to clean it up. No one would take responsibility and it suddenly became my fault for hurting my sister's feelings and being ungrateful for the stroller. I ended up sobbing. DH and I left. My mother then calls my grandmother and tells her about my pregnancy "rage" and how I need help. G-mom then calls me ( after I have asked to not do repeatedly do to her own level of insanity) to confront me. I didnt answer but was put on the church prayer list. This was just a recent occurrence, but we have an issue like this about once every week or so. I cannot allow my own child to live with this, but we only live 10 minutes away. Anyone have some good advice?

Re: Baby in middle of dysfunction

  • Move.

    They're nuts,a  cute little baby isn't going to change that

  • Agreed.  You need to move. I know it sounds extreme but you'll thank yourself later.  We have our own level of dysfunction in our family.  My kids are kindergarten age and under... we moved 8 hours away this past summer.  My kids are more mentally healthy now than they have ever been.  I'm able to keep visits on my own terms and since they see us so much less often, I find that people are able to keep it together and act more appropriately on those limited visits. 


  • It sounds like emotions run high and people's feelings easily get hurt.  IT sounds like everyone walked away hurt from the dog/stroller incident. If this is typical of your visits then you need to think about a few things:

    1.  Remember you can only control yourself and how you respond to their actions.  You can't control your sister, the dog, etc.  Don't set up high expectations for your visits and do your best to not react to the crazy and remove yourself from it when it begins.

    2.  Even if they live just 10 minutes away you do not need to see them on a weekly basis.  Cut back on the visits for a bit and take some room to breathe.  Be prepared this could cause drama in itself, but again just be ready for how you will handle it and how you are not going react to it.

    I don't have crazy family drama like that, but with the small stuff we do have I have quickly found that if I don't engage in it then people leave me out of it. I have to say there is a gray area of not reacting/engaging and not being walked all over.  So it isn't perfect, the disagreements still occur, but it has minimized it.

    ETA: I just came back an hour later and re-read my response.  My first sentence sounds a little cold.  It could be misconstrued to say that I felt everyone was overreacting to these situations.  That was not my intention. Your sister's comment about downs would upset anyone and was uncalled for.

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  • sounds like you need a vacation from your family.  Not permanent just a small separation. This is the time for you and your DH to bond, fantasize, 'play house' and enjoy yourselves before the baby arrives. Tune them out. and remember,this is not the way you want your baby to grow up. you want a loving atmosphere where people respect eachother..

    Absence might make the heart grow fonder....

    if you cant get away,then try to avoid their calls and visits..

    think of it as a mental health day!!

    good luck



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  • i have a dysfunctional family as well (don't we all?).  they were stressing my marriage and i didn't even know it.  UNTIL dh and i decided to severely limit interactions with them.  this didn't happen until after our twins came, but it has made a world of difference.  i no longer talk to them on the phone daily...maybe once every 2 weeks or so, BRIEFLY, to check in; i don't go to their homes to visit often and limit when they are invited to my home.  

    it has really had a positive effect on MY family.  i don't need or want my kids growing up with that kind of insanity.

    you should put some distance between YOUR family (you, dh, baby) and your family.  your sister sounds like she has some serious issues. 



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  • Distance yourself from them.  You don't need their bullshit, especially while pregnant.
  • I have some dysfunction in my family that caused me grief for years. About 10 years ago I finally decided that I wasn't going to get pulled into it. I see my family fairly often (once a month to every few weeks) but I keep it short and don't get involved in any drama. I just do the whole small talk thing. It's tough to do because you basically have to accept that you will never be close which is sad. Sometimes I still get pulled in but I try to catch myself and let go.

    Like others have said I would distance yourself from them if not physically then emotionally. You can't change who they are or how they treat others. Remind yourself that you are doing it for you, DH and your children.

    I hope you feel better soon! 

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  • I'm dealing with a lot of dysfunction on my side of the family.  DH and I have decided to limit contact with them, especially after LO is born, in order to save our sanity and to spare our LO the heartache of being constantly hurt by their insensitive comments.  

    It's easy for us to limit contact now, as we live 4 hours away and my family never even attempts to visit, but we plan to move back to our hometown in a few years.  I'm thrilled that we'll be living close to the ILs, but we'll definitely have to establish some ground rules with my family when we're living a few minutes away.

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  • Sounds somewhat like my husbands family. His mother actually responded when we called to tell her we were pregnant "Please tell me your f****** kidding me!" His mother and sister in law both said later they hoped he left me. We have been married for 6 months and been together off and on for 8 years and they still havent accepted me in the family. I have made the decision for myself emotionally and the emotional health of my unborn child to stay away from the negative people. I grew up in a disfunctional family myself and wish my mother would have done that for me. I really hope this helps!
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  • Um... yeah, you need to remove yourself from this. The extended family situation doesn't sound psychologically healthy to me at all. If you're not able to distance yourself from things (due to living 10 minutes away), maybe moving a little further away is something to consider in the future.

    In the meantime, just try to avoid getting drawn into anything. Don't make a big announcement that you're no longer visiting/answering calls/speaking to people, as that tends to add fuel to the fire. Instead (this is what I do with psycho family members), try to make yourself passively unavailable. Be noncommittal. Don't try to come up with valid excuses for avoiding anybody -- just keep dishing out the same old lame ones: "oh... yeah... I was going to but I forgot," "yeah, I keep meaning to, but I haven't had time," "I was just too tired," "I don't know," "maybe..." etc, etc. Pretend to be flaky and oblivious! It's a good way to put some distance in there without being confrontational.

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  • image samfish2bcrab:


    They're nuts,a  cute little baby isn't going to change that

    Couldn't agree more. Even if you only move across town, move. Put at least an hour's worth of distance between you and slowly begin to extricate yourself from the family. Stop attending family functions (one excuse or another) and stop inviting them.

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  • Agree you should remove yourself.  I live fairly close to my family (really, my mom is the only significant problem), and I simply limit contact.  We see her maybe once a month, and if she's acting nuts, I cut off contact.  She's much better behaved this way.
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  • This is your life and your baby!  DO NOT let anyone else get in the way.  If you have to distant yourself from the craziness, then do it.  GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!
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