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Unread 09-25-2013, 08:57 PM   #1
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Default How Best to Detach from Unhealthy In-Laws

For several months I have wrestled with how to dis-engage with my in-laws. Finally, after 20 years of marriage, I have realized that my extended family really does not care to have a relationship with me(even I have worked overtime to gain their affection). Evermore, it has become apparent that they are not open to anyone OUTSIDE their core family unit. My husband sees this too and supports my point of view. I do not want to detach if there is anyway possible to salvage this family relationship, but I have not witnessed any concrete evidence that they want anything other than a distant, superficial connection. If I am deeply honest, I do not beleive I want to be close to them either. How do I know for certain, that 'pulling back' is the appropriate response?
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Unread 09-26-2013, 10:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: How Best to Detach from Unhealthy In-Laws

You can detach by letting go of concern about what the in laws are doing or thinking, and refocus on what does work in your life. You'll do fine. You can adjust and fine tune your decision as you go along, based on results of your experiment.

You don't even need to announce anything or make a huge change, you can just redirect your energy. This is a great time to renew healthy hobbies and interests.

I'm glad your husband understands.

I understand from experience the feeling of being immobilized. I think the answer is to do things you enjoy and love. Play, find something to laugh about, don't let the chill of the in laws freeze you anymore. Freezing you out, that is their loss. They are missing out. That is their choice, so you get to make your own choices, and focus on where warmth and health is.
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Unread 09-26-2013, 04:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: How Best to Detach from Unhealthy In-Laws

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Originally Posted by CedarS View Post
You don't even need to announce anything or make a huge change, you can just redirect your energy.
Completely agree, with this! No need to announce anything, to step back. Sometimes, detaching, is more a state of mind, than an action.

I am not sure, how often you have contact with them, nor need to have contact with them. I used to come away from near weekly in-law functions with a raging headache. And I needed to learn how to separate myself, and see clearly through to what I found distressing, all the while, still feeling obligated to attend these functions to save face. My health is more important than the drama they bring forth.

(some of)Their two-sidedness was unbelievable to see through, yet, as I navigated the waters, I learned that I wasn't the only one who could remain, present but detached.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 07:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: How Best to Detach from Unhealthy In-Laws

We have recently needed, for the sake of our health and theirs, to detach (a little) from some family. We are finding it very hard to do.
Some family, and it seeems like all or any friends, have detached from us/me.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 07:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: How Best to Detach from Unhealthy In-Laws

I don't know that you have to pull back; just don't move forward to engage. Adults have friendships with people and with friends, you are friends because you enjoy being with them. If you do not enjoy your extended family, you see them during holidays/when it is expected, etc. and that's about it. There is nothing wrong with you for not particularly liking them or wanting to be with them anymore than there is something wrong with them for enjoying who they enjoy.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 05:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: How Best to Detach from Unhealthy In-Laws

My mom did this with my horrid grandmother (she is an abusive jerk). We just didn't continue communication. And when she got angered about this, we said we have no reason to affiliate ourselves with her and wish her well. I haven't spoken to her in 8 months, besides today which was an argument, and it's been the most stress free 8 months of my life.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 09:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: How Best to Detach from Unhealthy In-Laws

I've been feeling this way with my immediate family.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 09:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: How Best to Detach from Unhealthy In-Laws

Mine was a sad ending I am afraid my Ex mother-in-law has narc traits - she was really unkind and cruel to me. We moved home to live at the bottom of her garden - there was no escape and my ex could not say no to her - It felt like there were three in the marriage. Eventually I had to leave I just couldn't live in that enviroment - it was making me ill! I still love my ex but as long as he has his mother and is tied to her apron strings - it would never have worked. I hope the outcome is better for you - don't let it get this bad!
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Unread 11-05-2013, 10:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: How Best to Detach from Unhealthy In-Laws

Quote:
Originally Posted by CedarS View Post
You can detach by letting go of concern about what the in laws are doing or thinking, and refocus on what does work in your life. You'll do fine. You can adjust and fine tune your decision as you go along, based on results of your experiment.

You don't even need to announce anything or make a huge change, you can just redirect your energy. This is a great time to renew healthy hobbies and interests.

I'm glad your husband understands.

I understand from experience the feeling of being immobilized. I think the answer is to do things you enjoy and love. Play, find something to laugh about, don't let the chill of the in laws freeze you anymore. Freezing you out, that is their loss. They are missing out. That is their choice, so you get to make your own choices, and focus on where warmth and health is.
Just checking in with an update. Have taken your advice and try not to think so much about them. We have done more than what we could afford for them and now need to focus on us. Our health and well being are starting to come first now. We have adopted a small dog and both of us take lovely walks almost everyday. I like to go twice a day and have started jogging some again. Our physical limits some times slow us down though.
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