How to Deal with Hurtful Family Members and Moving on from Toxic Relationships
This evening as I browsed the lists of Hubpages questions, I ran into one that really struck a chord with me...and I didn't even really realize it had struck a chord until I began typing my reply to the poster, and the thoughts and feelings began to flow. Before I knew it the word count was far too long for an answer and had deviated somewhat from the original question, and so I choose to share it here with my fellow hubbers. No doubt others have been in similar situations with hurtful or toxic family members, through no discernible fault of their own, and it is a hurt that is often the most difficult to understand and get over. The question was, "How often do you talk to your parents?" and here is the answer I wrote...but check back, or comment if you'd like to be notified about updates, because I plan to further develop the thoughts here at a later date.
I live three miles from my mom and see her often, and we generally go out for lunch together 2-3 times a month. As for my dad...I have tried to be close to him in the past, though in my younger life he worked all the time so I didn't really get a chance to get to know him until my late teens and early 20s. After my parents' divorce all my dad wanted to talk about to my sister and I was about what a horrible person our mom was and, despite numerous requests that he refrain from talking about her, he persisted until neither of us wanted to talk to him anymore. He seemed quite convinced that she was doing the same thing and that could be the only way to explain why we were growing more distant from him, and to this day insists that she poisoned our minds against him...he still can't see how he did his own poisoning.
In the past several years, after my son was born and while I was living near my dad I tried to get to know him and build a relationship with him again long after the bitterness of the divorce, and that seemed to be going well for some time. When I left my first husband I moved back to my hometown, where my mother also happens to live, and he immediately stopped talking to me and threw his support to my ex-husband during divorce and custody proceedings.
While I'm not sure what all precipitated this sudden change, I know that at least some of it is that he chose to believe the lies my ex told about me, as well as the lies he and his girlfriend continue to tell about me to this day...whenever they see anything (mostly age-appropriate) in my son that they don't like, they say I taught him, and often it's things I never even heard of before...or things that my son will say to try to get a reaction when he's angry and came up with all on his own. Add to that, my dad seems to have always considered my relationship with my mom as a personal affront to him, having never gotten past the juvenile "with me or against me" mentality.
To date I have not spoken to my father for about two years, he has never met my current husband, and does not seem to have one bit of interest in being part of my life. I have finally gotten to the point that, despite still missing him sometimes in spite of all the hurt, I no longer feel the need to pursue a relationship with him when he clearly doesn't want one with me. I have my mom, my other mother (my mom's best friend since I was 3), and numerous others who have claimed me as an honorary daughter and who have gotten to know and love me, as well as a loving and supportive husband and wonderful extended family. While it's true you can't pick your family at the start of life, later in life there's no reason you can't choose family that may or may not be blood related, and let go of those blood relatives who only want to bring you down.