Getting weird vibes from this family...advice?


#1

Hi I was wondering if any of you could give me your perspective on the family I am going to describe. I may not even be able to describe things all too clearly so I apologize if that’s the case :o. And if anything I say sounds the least bit judgemental I sincerely apologize because that’s not my intent. I am just trying to make sense of things.

(Oh and this isn’t necessarily my first post. I am a “junior member” posting under a new name so as to stay as anonymous as possible. )

Anyway, so there’s this Catholic family… I am not super close with them but I have spent some time with them and have learned some valuable things from them. I am most acquainted with one of the sons. We are both in our early 20s. I have met up with him at church a few times, we ate together once, we’ve prayed together, and had some nice discussions related to spiritual matters and the faith. I have met his family a couple times, especially last night I spent some time with them at their home. For the most part, it really seems as though this family is quite devout. They are very faithful to God and His Church :slight_smile:

Unfortunately, something just doesn’t seem quite right otherwise. This family seems to be a little disconnected, maybe dysfunctional. They seem awkward in their interactions with others. I’ve seen them at Sunday Mass once and they were kind of dispersed throughout the church. Now I don’t know if it is maybe just my perception of things, but to me it only seems normal for a family, especially when they live together, to sit together at church. There seems to be a lack of structure. A few of them tend to stay up late on a regular basis, usually arguing about certain kinds of things related to the faith or philosophy. They were even “debating” last night about whether it is better to pray the rosary or the chaplet of Divine Mercy. I know that these aren’t bad things to talk about, but I get the vibe that they are a little too obsessed because the son whom I talk to the most has told me that they do this all the time like it’s routine. This particular son has also mentioned to me that part of the reason he wants to become a monk is so he can get away from the household he lives in. He says it gets too stressful. I know he sort of suffers from anxiety which I can understand because I do in some ways as well. But it makes me wonder when a person says something like that.

This family comprises of mom, 4 brothers, and a sister. I know that their dad lives in another state (they’re divorced) and that my friend has mentioned a step dad who no longer lives with them. He has also told me that his mom sort of suffers from bipolar disorder.

These people are very nice and kind and genuinely want to serve God. I suppose my question is, should I be concerned about any of this? Would it be okay to continue spending time with them, do you think?

Thank you for your time :slight_smile:


#2

[quote="MadetoLove, post:1, topic:213925"]
Hi I was wondering if any of you could give me your perspective on the family I am going to describe. I may not even be able to describe things all too clearly so I apologize if that's the case :o. And if anything I say sounds the least bit judgemental I sincerely apologize because that's not my intent. I am just trying to make sense of things.

(Oh and this isn't necessarily my first post. I am a "junior member" posting under a new name so as to stay as anonymous as possible. )

Anyway, so there's this Catholic family... I am not super close with them but I have spent some time with them and have learned some valuable things from them. I am most acquainted with one of the sons. We are both in our early 20s. I have met up with him at church a few times, we ate together once, we've prayed together, and had some nice discussions related to spiritual matters and the faith. I have met his family a couple times, especially last night I spent some time with them at their home. For the most part, it really seems as though this family is quite devout. They are very faithful to God and His Church :)

Unfortunately, something just doesn't seem quite right otherwise. This family seems to be a little disconnected, maybe dysfunctional. They seem awkward in their interactions with others. I've seen them at Sunday Mass once and they were kind of dispersed throughout the church. Now I don't know if it is maybe just my perception of things, but to me it only seems normal for a family, especially when they live together, to sit together at church. There seems to be a lack of structure. A few of them tend to stay up late on a regular basis, usually arguing about certain kinds of things related to the faith or philosophy. They were even "debating" last night about whether it is better to pray the rosary or the chaplet of Divine Mercy. I know that these aren't bad things to talk about, but I get the vibe that they are a little too obsessed because the son whom I talk to the most has told me that they do this all the time like it's routine. This particular son has also mentioned to me that part of the reason he wants to become a monk is so he can get away from the household he lives in. He says it gets too stressful. I know he sort of suffers from anxiety which I can understand because I do in some ways as well. But it makes me wonder when a person says something like that.

This family comprises of mom, 4 brothers, and a sister. I know that their dad lives in another state (they're divorced) and that my friend has mentioned a step dad who no longer lives with them. He has also told me that his mom sort of suffers from bipolar disorder.

These people are very nice and kind and genuinely want to serve God. I suppose my question is, should I be concerned about any of this? Would it be okay to continue spending time with them, do you think?

Thank you for your time :)

[/quote]

With all her problems and the odds stacked against her, it sounds to me like your friend's mom has done an astounding job of keeping the family together.

As for the family being scattered throughout the church, here's the reason it happens in my family:

I don't have a car big enough for us all to ride together, and the other driver in my household is habitually late for everything, including Church. Therefore we arrive at Church at different times, making sitting together impractical.


#3

It is no judgement on them to say that there is something about them that doesn't make you comfortable. You do not need to have a lot of friends in this world, but you ought to feel secure and at ease with the ones you have. They should not stir up an uneasy sense that you need to keep the "fight or flight" mechanism operational.

IOW, it doesn't matter whether or not there is more going on than what meets the eye. It only matters that it seems that way to you. That doesn't mean you have to shun this family, but by no means should you feel guilty if you don't invite them into the recesses of your soul. That is priveleged ground. If you don't want to spend time with this family, you don't owe any apologies.

PS In spite of the sound of the phrase, to "flee the world" for a monastic vocation is a positive action, not a negative one. If the son ever brings up to you again that he wants to become a monk in order to get away from his family, you might remind him that a monastery is not an asylum. The work of coming to peace with his upbringing is best done before approaching a community for admission, not after. (When to start? There's no time like the present.)


#4

My family is extremely close, and we do all sort of things together, but we don’t all sit together in Church. :stuck_out_tongue:


#5

[quote="mark_a, post:2, topic:213925"]
With all her problems and the odds stacked against her, it sounds to me like your friend's mom has done an astounding job of keeping the family together.

As for the family being scattered throughout the church, here's the reason it happens in my family:

I don't have a car big enough for us all to ride together, and the other driver in my household is habitually late for everything, including Church. Therefore we arrive at Church at different times, making sitting together impractical.

[/quote]

well said
DH and I often don't sit together at church because we have different responsibilities on Sunday.

at least half the teens and college students in this parish don't sit with their parents. no big deal

sometimes one parent has to care for a small child and sits in more convenient place, or the cry room while the other parent stays with the other children

I can think of at least 2 dozen good reasons why a family may not always sit together in church. by itself this is indicative of nothing.

Every family is dysfunctional in its own way with a family that functions differently so that is a subjective judgement.

It is a hall mark of my birth family that we argue or debate about everything and anything just for the sake of debate. We definitely have put the "fun" in dysfunctional and everybody knows it, but that is not necessarily why.


#6

I think all of us that reply will say something based on our own experiences. Religious people discuss religious topics more often than the average family. I’m sure it isn’t the first time someone debated prayer.

It all depends how you feel when you associate with these folks. If they are making you nervous then keep your distance. If you enjoy their company then proceed but you don’t have to get extremely close. If your friend suffers from anxiety maybe he didn’t express himself just quite right.

Always keep yourself safe would be the bottom line advice.


#7

[quote="MadetoLove, post:1, topic:213925"]
Unfortunately, something just doesn't seem quite right otherwise. This family seems to be a little disconnected, maybe dysfunctional. They seem awkward in their interactions with others. I've seen them at Sunday Mass once and they were kind of dispersed throughout the church. Now I don't know if it is maybe just my perception of things, but to me it only seems normal for a family, especially when they live together, to sit together at church.

[/quote]

In my area, it is more customary for older teens to sit away from their parents. It's part of the natural detachment process, as they begin to become their own person - they drive their own car to Mass, or else walk by themselves, and sit with a friend or else by themselves, even though their parents are also at the same Mass.

There seems to be a lack of structure. ...]

This family comprises of mom, 4 brothers, and a sister. I know that their dad lives in another state (they're divorced) and that my friend has mentioned a step dad who no longer lives with them. He has also told me that his mom sort of suffers from bipolar disorder.

I was about to ask if maybe it was a broken family. This is quite common in broken families (as is the mistrust of outsiders; families who have experienced crisis have also experienced the fact that most people run the other way and criticize from a distance instead of helping) because one of the things that happens when there is a divorce is that the family schedule gets totally disrupted - often, the mother is working at night, and the kids are by themselves, staying up all night, and the pattern will often persist past the point of need, having become habitual, even if everyone is on the day shift.

These people are very nice and kind and genuinely want to serve God. I suppose my question is, should I be concerned about any of this? Would it be okay to continue spending time with them, do you think?

I'd say it's up to you. It sounds like they are coping quite well with their situation, and you mentioned that they are very interesting to talk to. You might not choose to become BFFs with them, but it wouldn't hurt anything to be friendly with them. Simply take the attitude that their habits are just the quirkiness of them, and take it as much in stride as you can, and thank God for your parents, and the fact that you have never had to endure the turmoil of a divorce. :)


#8

Mostly, if your intuition says something is not quite right, don’t beat yourself up because you can’t put a finger on why you think that. You’re not being judgemental. You’re getting information from your intuition, from the right side of your brain, just like you get information from your eyes, your ears, your skin, and from the left side of the brain, as well.

Don’t feel a need to come up with a rational basis for your sense of things. Rather, feel free to calmly take this purely intuitive “sense of things” as a legitimate piece of information in its own right. It doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with them as long as you feel that way. It means that you shouldn’t discount that sense just because you don’t know where the feeling comes from.


#9

Growing up, we never sat together as a family at church. I think the main reason is back then I though it was ‘cool’ to sit away from my parents. And I think my mom though it would be a good compromise to keep the peace. I believe my mom’s main concern was if she was too strict (like insisting we all sit together) she would turn us off from religion.

And, if this is a broken family… chances are they don’t know how to communicate. Behind the debate between the rosary or the divine chaplet, is probably really ‘I don’t feel loved so if I scream my opinion the loudest, you guys will agree and I will be loved.’

If you are a woman hoping to marry one of the boys… then think long and hard if you can really bring your kids up around them. If you simply want to be friends… remember, every family has their quirks and the fact that they have you over is a compliment to you. Perhaps tell your friend you would like to do other activities and not always have to be at his house to see him.

Ultimately, you need to examine your heart and do what God is calling you to do

CM


#10

You should go back to my old postings in 2008. No matter what there was always weirdness in my in-laws family and their interactions. Even when we got along. I did not know why until the divorce settled - 3 out of 5 of the main players had been sexually abused and the one that I married had grown up to be a molester. Trust your instincts - sometimes that is the Holy Spirit telling you to get out of a situation.


#11

Thank you all so much for replying. Your perspectives have been quite helpful.

I think I can see more now why things seem so odd. It does seem like this family has suffered a lot of pain and rejection. It’s a bit heartbreaking. :frowning:

I really appreciate though all of your thoughts about not sitting together at church. I didn’t really grow up in a religious family (we sure have our quirks as well :o) so I suppose I didn’t really know whether it’s the norm to have the family all sitting with one another.

But all in all, I think I need to spend more time praying to determine what it is that God wants me to do.

I really really appreciate you saying this (and what you posted earlier) EasterJoy :slight_smile:
If you didn’t mention this, I probably would beat myself up over the whole thing. Now I feel much more comfortable with listening to my intuition.

Joandarc2008, I am so sorry to hear that about your in-laws. I certainly wouldn’t want to just go around jumping to severe conclusions about people but you are so right. Sometimes we just never know.
I will pray that you will find healing though. It must have been a rough road. I will pray for your in laws too.

God bless you all


#12

[quote="MadetoLove, post:11, topic:213925"]
Thank you all so much for replying. Your perspectives have been quite helpful.

I think I can see more now why things seem so odd. It does seem like this family has suffered a lot of pain and rejection. It's a bit heartbreaking. :(

I really appreciate though all of your thoughts about not sitting together at church. I didn't really grow up in a religious family (we sure have our quirks as well :o) so I suppose I didn't really know whether it's the norm to have the family all sitting with one another.

But all in all, I think I need to spend more time praying to determine what it is that God wants me to do.

I really really appreciate you saying this (and what you posted earlier) EasterJoy :)
If you didn't mention this, I probably would beat myself up over the whole thing. Now I feel much more comfortable with listening to my intuition.

Joandarc2008, I am so sorry to hear that about your in-laws. I certainly wouldn't want to just go around jumping to severe conclusions about people but you are so right. Sometimes we just never know.
I will pray that you will find healing though. It must have been a rough road. I will pray for your in laws too.

God bless you all

[/quote]

You are right about jumping to conclusions - my apologies- I should watch how I word things - I guess what I should have also said is if you are getting these vibes - use your discernment there may be a reason for it.


#13

Oh no apology necessary, that’s exactly what I thought you said and I totally agree. :thumbsup:
Thank you again, & God bless


#14

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