Acceptance/Letting Go

Old 10-01-2013, 05:34 PM
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Acceptance/Letting Go

I've had a real issue with the concept of acceptance/letting go. More specifically, depending on what it really meant. It seems that for my FOO, acceptance and letting go is simply ignoring that there was ever a problem, forgetting it, and behaving like a happy family again.

Mom, "treat it like a bump in the road and it's behind you", "yeah, we are supposed to sweep it under the rug"

My brother snapped at me when I said that I didn't want to spend time with someone that called my wife crazy and called me brainwashed with "oh, you're bringing that sh** up again? just forget about it - get over it"

Two of my brothers have made it clear that they reject my wife and marriage: "I think divorce is in your best interest", "I don't like her", "you've changed", etc, etc.

They want me to be in their lives and just act like those opinions are just that - opinions.

For me, an open rejection of my wife and I (they call me angry and cynical and refuse to sit down and talk things over in counseling) is not something from the past, but always in the present.

What would acceptance/letting go really be like in this situation?

For me, it is that I love these 2 brothers and wish them the best and don't hold a grudge against their opinion of rejection of my marriage. However, I will not participate in a relationship with them (enemies of my marriage should be kept at a distance, I think). As such, family members are upset because that would mean I will not be present at birthdays, holidays, etc. I don't want to be around because the rejection and subsequent "fake" respect in get-togethers, it feels like eating glass or being stabbed in the heart with a dull knife and my heart being dug out with a spoon. I don't like being blamed for being "resentful" and "angry" when I think it's perfectly reasonable to avoid relationships where my marriage isn't supported. (btw, my wife is not on drugs, not in jail, never cheated on me, etc.)
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:10 PM
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Why don't they like your wife? (I'm just trying to understand the situation better).

I think someone who cares about you has the right to tell you once, in a compassionate manner, that they don't approve of your relationship. After that, they need to respect your decision to stay with the person and respect her when they are around her. I don't think it is necessary for them to like her though. I think you guys could reach a situation where you accept they don't like her and they accept that you do!
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:27 PM
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Hi, thotful. This is a difficult position to be in, for sure. With my own family, I just had to say, "I love you, but I have to get off the merry-go-round." Growing up, we were always expected to sweep everything under the rug. I see the signs in stores that say, "Remember, as far as anyone knows, we are a perfectly normal family" and I can't see the humor that was intended. When you've grown up in an abusive or addiction-afflicted home, that statement has a completely different meaning-- it touches a raw, painful place where we stuffed all of that garbage and our feelings until we just stopped feeling. I finally had enough and decided to work on my own recovery, cutting off contact with my AM and anyone who was "on her team." Right now I will talk to a couple of family members on a need-to-know basis, but my boundary is talk about my AM. It's not productive, and I refuse to engage in their special brand of enabling, codependency, and toxicity.

Acceptance is just that: accepting that they believe what they believe and that you can't change it. You don't have to agree or like it, but you are accepting what is. Letting go is learning to disengage from their drama and being ok with your family as it is. It's ok to love someone but not talk to them. It's ok to focus on the family you've built. Really. It's ok.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by thotful View Post

What would acceptance/letting go really be like in this situation?
dunno. But it sounds like what you are now doing sucks.

Just saying, right?

It does suck, doesn't it?

So let's maybe scratch "what you are now doing" off the list?

Sometimes when you cannot figure out what would be good, at least getting rid of some of the bad can be quite an improvement.

btw, you helped me gain a little insight for myself, with this >>>

I didn't want to spend time with someone that called my wife crazy . . . .
Yunno what?

I have called My Wife Crazy . . . and she does not want to spend time with me.

Whoda thought?

Thanks for that insight.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:20 PM
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In "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie there is a beautiful reading about separating from Family Issues. If you're not familiar with this book, it's a daily reader. The January 4th reading discusses this. If you can get this book, read this day's entry. She always does a "Today, I will..." at the end of the reading so I'll quote that here:

"Today, I will separate myself from family members. I am a separate human being, even though I belong to a unit called a family. I have a right to my own issues and growth; my family members have a right to their issues and a right to choose where and when they will deal with these issues. I can learn to detach in love from my family members and their issues. I am willing to work through all necessary feelings in order to accomplish this."
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:35 AM
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It's one thing to think something - it's another completely to say it over...and over...and over again. I told my brother how much it hurt me for him to say unkind things about my wife and he just does it again. He even used the excuse of "you told me I didn't have to like her" - yes, but I also said you need to show some respect - constantly saying it whenever I'm trying to reach out to work out our differences is highly disrespectful. I don't call him names or call his wife names or challenge his marriage even when I could easily do it with little sweat.

"she's not my favorite person, but she's in it for the long haul regardless of my perceptions of her alteration of your personality. You've become more angry and cynical as you weave an alternate life where you're an innocent victim in an alcoholic abusive family" (e-mail from younger brother when I requested that he and his wife meet with me and my wife for counseling and he was rejecting the offer)

When I asked the other estranged brother why he thought I should divorce my wife, he said, "because I know you - I've known you for 35 years." I replied with "no, you don't know me" - I believe that if someone truly knew me, they would trust that I can handle myself.

I've never really gotten a straight answer to "why", because they either don't really know because they don't know how to read their own emotions, or they don't want to admit it's something shallow or none of their business like she's overweight or that I've been supporting her while she's taken more than the average # of years to complete graduate school in engineering. The only thing I've got is basically that I've changed for the worse and she's changed me (in truth, I've been setting boundaries like, "no I won't discuss my sex life", "no, I don't have beer in my fridge for you", "no, your kids don't get to enter every room in my house", "no, you don't come over to my home much later than you said you would and demand that we change the movie we're watching", "no, you don't demand to 'tell her a** to get out" to use our toilet when my wife is in the shower", "yes, I have the right to request that you keep a hold of your swim trunks and bring them over to use the hot tub" - should I go on? apparently, when my wife handed my brother his swim trunks that my wife had washed, she was telling him he was no longer welcome in the house - it made no sense whatsoever other than my brother hates boundaries - given the theories on alcohol abuse and his behavior, I've wondered if that's the issue because he can't stand not getting his way and I'm now standing up for myself) - the other thing was that my wife was somehow pushing people out of our house even though I had three different family members stay with us for several months! One of them, she suggested that they could stay!

Personally, I think it has nothing to do with her, and everything to do with me and she's being scapegoated. I've placed my loyalty with her ahead of them and it pisses them off. It's strange because everyone else I talk to say, "umm, yeah, that's your wife and she comes first - if they challenge that, they will lose...everytime...unless you don't have a backbone"

PS - I have 6 brothers and a sister - 2 brothers have an issue (both I suspect of drinking problems) - 4 other brothers and sister - no problems - mother and father - no problems - all of my friends - no problems. If there was anything, we've talked them out and moved on.
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:35 AM
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You're in a tug of war with your 2 brothers over this. As long as they can get you to engage, to pick up your end of the rope and pull, nothing will change. The "why" may never be answered, but at the end of the day it doesn't matter. They don't like your wife. It's really their issue, which is evidenced by the fact that other family members feel differently.

Let go and let God. Don't waste time justifying yourself to them. Get off their merry go round. Let go of the anger, and focus on the rest of the family. Just my 2 cents...
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:06 AM
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I have 6 brothers and a sister - 2 brothers have an issue (both I suspect of drinking problems) - 4 other brothers and sister - no problems - mother and father - no problems - all of my friends - no problems.
A saying we have here: Don't go to the hardware store looking for bread. These two brothers don't like your wife, they've told you so, and they've ignored your pleas for peace. Your next step is to believe them, and to avoid conversations or contact with them that leads down the road to Crazytown. No more counseling requests, no more well-meaning phone calls looking for resolution, no more pleading why, why, why.

That hardware store doesn't have bread.

Or, what I say about my mom when it comes to me wanting to feel validated and loved by her: That well is dry. I have to stop going there when I'm thirsty. I have to fulfill that need in other places. I can go to that well for other things but it doesn't have water. I have to get water elsewhere.

Your brothers are no longer a safe space for you. If they are indeed alcoholics, they never were. It's fine to behave in a way that acknowledges that truth. It's also fine to have a marriage that is not sanctioned and blessed by them. The nice thing about being grown is not having to have their permission and approval to live your life.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:23 AM
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Thanks. I'm taking the thoughts to heart. Here's to letting go of going to a poisoned well for water to drink.
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by thotful View Post
Thanks. I'm taking the thoughts to heart. Here's to letting go of going to a poisoned well for water to drink.
That really says it all. I see you so desperately wanting to control them and the situation and that just doesn't work. We can't change other people, no matter how hard we try. I've found in these types of family relations, you're also damned if you do, and damned if you don't. My AM thought I should do something a different way, so I would. And then that way was wrong and I should have done it the first way. It'll make you crazy. Right now just work on accepting them for who they are and establishing boundaries. Maybe, "If you can respect my wife and our relationship, then that's great, but if you won't, then I cannot participate in xyz." or you can't continue the phone call or whatever. You have chosen her as your life partner, and whether she's batshit crazy or not is beside the point. This is YOUR wife, YOUR life together.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:23 AM
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In my case, my family didn't want me to recover because then the status quo of the dysfunction would change.

They did lousy things to me so I would REACT then they could all
point the finger at me, the Bad One.

I've found it best to ignore them, say nothing, let them needle and reject me
All they want and take my pain and sadness to God.

They just don't get it and probably never will.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:51 AM
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I got to a point where I decided that people who have nothing positive to contribute to my life have no need to be in it, family or not.
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