Totally Confused

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2011
Totally Confused
Thu, 09-06-2012 - 4:18pm

People confuse me.  I don't think I will ever understand them.  When my parents abused me, I simply stopped investing my emotions in them. When I was old enough I walked away without looking back. I never missed them.  I figured they were toxic.  I stay away from toxic people.  I am happy and my life is fairly drama-free.  To me this all seems simple.

Now I am married to a man with 5 living sisters.  His entire family is wacko.  You already know about the nasty sister who wrote the letter.  She is mentally unbalanced.  Not only has she written the nasty letter to us, but she has written a nasty letter to her oldest daughter and the oldest daughter's husband.  She has written a nasty letter to the oldest daughter's children (who are minors).  She just wrote a nasty letter to her son on the eve of his wedding..  She sent her youngest daughter who is an adult  to live with the oldest daughter in an attempt to gain information which would allow her to remove the boy from his mother's care.  She is doing this because she wants control of her grandson.  She admits she doesn't care about any of her other grandchildren.  The kids' mother is a wonderful mom and their grand parents are nut jobs but they actually went to court in an attempt to steal the kids.   The judge dismissed the case.

The oldest daughter is married to a very practical man.  He has told her that her family is unhealthy and he doesn't want them around the kids.  He doesn't want them around him either, and in point of fact he has had to call the police to have them removed from his home when her parents threatened his safety.

The oldest daughter doesn't speak to her parents and until recently didn't speak to her younger sister either after she pulled the spying act.   Last year the oldest daughter approached us and said she wanted to start a relationship with us.  We were open to that but we told her that we didn't want any dealings with her parents or her sister and we felt uncomfortable being drawn into her family dynamics.  She assured us that she was not going to put us in an uncomfortable situation and that she had no dealings with her parents or her sister and planned to continue maintaining a silent distance.

Over the past year we have grown close.  They have slept over our house. We have taken them on tours around our city.  We have been to see her son's football game, we went to her brother's wedding (his/her parents refused to go for more of their mentally unbalanced reasons), we have tried to be a good aunt and uncle.  She, her husband, her children tell us all the time how much they love us.  We tell them the same.

It seems like this should be a healthy relationship.  So, I am completely blindsided when she tells me today that she has decided to renew relations with the spying sister.  I have spent all morning removing every comment from my facebook page that will show up on her facebook page since I don't want her sister or her parents to know anything about me.  I'm sure her husband isn't going to be delighted with this news either as he has told her repeatedly that he doesn't want to be further attacked by her family and he feels it puts their marriage at risk.

So, knowing that she is putting herself in jeopardy of losing healthy,supportive, loving relationships by choosing to associate with sneaky, selfish, abusive people.... why would she do this?  We are about to get very busy with our business, and it is a shame, but that is going to be a natural break in our future association with this niece.  We will be cordial but unavailable for the future.

Can anyone explain to me why she would want to renew relations with people who have treated her really really badly?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Re: Totally Confused
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 12:56am

>>>What causes people to want to deal with toxic people?

They're addicts.  Addicted to drama. No different from people who get their high from alcohol or drugs, some people get their high from drama-filled people and their "exciting" angst-filled lives.    Apparently having "normal" relatives like you and your husband isn't as stimulating as having abusive nut-cases in their life.  Get used to it, she's not going to change.  Moving on is the best route unless YOU enjoy the drama.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Re: Totally Confused
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 10:45am

<What causes people to want to deal with toxic people?>

Maybe its not that she *wants to deal with* a toxic person, but that she feels bad or guilty that her sibling is not part of her life. Maybe she thinks that if she could somehow be the kinder, bigger person things will somehow change and younger sister will stop acting like she does (to older sister, anyway). Maybe thinks that if sis has more positive people in her life it will counterbalance the negative influence of the mother. So she tries again, gives sis another chance. Not rational, but emotions sometimes are not.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 11:19am

What everyone else said already - I agree with.  I also think that no matter how easy it is for you to see the dysfunction - sister's, family members are often blind to it.  It took my DH a very long time to see how is family was behaving.  And, deep down he never wants to really believe that his family is like this.


It is so much easier to believe the good!  I would cut the older sister some slack (the one's that you have been getting along with really well over this past year).  Give them at least the benefit of the doubt that they really would like to believe that the younger sister has changed.  They will find out the truth soon enough.  Be a friend/family member that they can continue to have a relationship with.  When the "crap" hits the fan they will really need to know that not everyone in their family is crazy, self centered, spoiled etc.


I'm sorry about your childhood experience with your parents and the abuse.  I just can't understand why people have children and then treat them this way.  I'm glad you've found peace in your life and resolved to live with "no drama"!