How do men view women from disfunctional families?


#1

This is something that has been on my mind lately even though I am 40.

My mom always told me 'Don't marry a man until you see how he interacts with his family. Expecially his mother. If he does not respect his mother, do not marry him'

Well, my mom is in totaly denial about the disfunction in our family.

I don't see the point in going into detail since I am sure a lot of people here have their fare share of experience but in a nut shell, 8 years ago, I had to cut all contact with my brother. He was very abusive and I could no longer take the pain of trying to associate with someone who never saw anything wrong with treating me like a total piece of garbage. I am actually very proud of myself for stopping the abuse.

But it always makes me wonder if ever I meet a man, how will he view me. Would it be a deal breaker. Lord knows I have tried to work it out with my brother but it is useless. I really believe come judgement day, God will understand my decision.

Nonetheless, it hurts to constantly hear 'But CM, he is your brother, you should try to work it out' It hurts that people blame me when my brother insists on being a jerk. When people judge me when it is not my fault. When people totally discredit the fact that I desperately want to have a relationship with my brother but he pushed me into a corner where I had no other choice

Also, my father had more than his fair share of faults. We now get along and are civil but during high school he was horrible. Always in my face about stupid things, breaking promises and pushing my buttons. I always envied my peers who had 'absent fathers' ie fathers that would rather read a newspaper than talk to them, fathers that never bothered to take them places (as opposed to my father who would drag me places I didn't want to be so I couldn't spend time with friends'

Whether I like it or not, it has affected me. I try hard not to take it out on all men, but I am sure some men have probably sensed some hostility at some time or other.

So, my question is, (and please be honest people that is why I am asking). Although, I would never tell anyone this stuff on a first date, it would eventually be apparent. How do men really view this stuff

Thanks

CM


#2

Hello,
I fully understand how you feel about cutting all links with your brother. I myself have a brother whom i have had to cut all ties with for many reason which i shall not dwell on and the "but he is your brother" comments are extremely painful but you get used to them. I cannot speak on behalf of the entire male gender but personally such things would not matter in the slightest when looking for a relationship. Yes it is a sad situation which none of us wish to find ourselves thrown into, but as long as you are not the one causing this situation and you have tried your best to resolve it then i see no issue.
As with your brother's situation, the issues with your father (from my understanding) are not and never have been under your control. As long as you are not out there deliberately causing these problems (which unfortunately from experience some women and men love to do) and you do your best as a human to resolve them then again no issue.
If a man cannot look past these issues (which i do not believe to be negative issues on your behalf) and possible hostility then they clearly are not right for you.
Not sure if I actually helped or answered your question but that's my two cents.


#3

Hi CM I also have a brother I have limited contact with.I love my brother and will always be there for him if needed.
My brother treats women poorly and has a lot of issues.My mother (who has since had a stroke so her mind is affected) and my father (who died in 1996) 'allowed' this behaviour to occur instead of trying to address it and help him.He is now nearly 50 and I have tried to help him but he becomes angry & violent and my mother encourages him by defending his beahviour and is in total denial saying I am always putting him down!He would become violent and angry with my parents on many occasions but they allowed this situation to develop. So now I am in the situation where I visit rarely & send Christmas cards/ birthdays etc & thats it.If he rings needing advice (which he has done on many occasions) I am always kind & helpful but simply cannot get too involved in his daily life.

For you CM you are right to avoid contact with your brother.You can 'love' him from a distance by praying for him.He has wronged you and abused you and your trust.He will only cause more hamr by your havong invlovement with him.So well done you for having the sense to avoid further escalation of the problems.

Regarding how a man would view you.....I am a woman so I cannot speak for a man however,a person falls in love with another person.You gradually get to know one another and love the deeper parts of the person the outside world does not see.If you were to meet a man who you date and get to know,he will fall in love with you for who you are.No-one goes into a relationship thinking "ooh I wonder what that persons relationship with their parents is like" etc. When you wish to introduce this man to your mother thats ok because you are polite and respectful to your mother.You can gradually explain that you have a distant realtionship with your brother who has some 'issues' as you get to know each other.I hope this helps and God bless you


#4

I don't think it would change anything for me. I would hope that I would treat her in a more sensitive way because of what happened to her in the past. .


#5

[quote="kib, post:4, topic:221618"]
I don't think it would change anything for me. I would hope that I would treat her in a more sensitive way because of what happened to her in the past. .

[/quote]

I share the same sentiments.

Everyone has their own problems. I'm sure that if a man truly loved you he would be able to get over your family troubles.


#6

I think distancing yourself from abuse shows maturity. It means that you value yourself enough to have boundaries, which is healthy, not dysfunctional. I would say if you are still holding onto painful experiences from high school, and perhaps being hostile to men because of your father and brother, doing some therapy might help that. And from my POV, having been in therapy or being in therapy would show a willingness to work on one's issues, not weakness.

But I"m not a man. I know my husband was pretty pragmatic and saw my family background as much more anchored than his own, even though I lost my mom when I was 10. His parents had divorced when he was a teen after a very stormy relationship with lots of absence and infidelity by his father. So he knew he was carrying a lot of baggage and he judged my bags to be lighter! :) He figured one of us would have the "right stuff" to pass on to any kids that might come along....:shrug:

I think everyone has some baggage from family members somewhere...none of us are perfect and goodness knows we all have our faults...I'm sure you do already, but keep praying for your brother and mom. I was estranged from my sister for years, couldn't abide her at all, but something changed in her and in me and we are friends and close again.


#7

[quote="cmscms, post:1, topic:221618"]
This is something that has been on my mind lately even though I am 40.

My mom always told me 'Don't marry a man until you see how he interacts with his family. Expecially his mother. If he does not respect his mother, do not marry him'

Well, my mom is in totaly denial about the disfunction in our family.

I don't see the point in going into detail since I am sure a lot of people here have their fare share of experience but in a nut shell, 8 years ago, I had to cut all contact with my brother. He was very abusive and I could no longer take the pain of trying to associate with someone who never saw anything wrong with treating me like a total piece of garbage. I am actually very proud of myself for stopping the abuse....
Also, my father had more than his fair share of faults. We now get along and are civil but during high school he was horrible. Always in my face about stupid things, breaking promises and pushing my buttons. I always envied my peers who had 'absent fathers' ie fathers that would rather read a newspaper than talk to them, fathers that never bothered to take them places (as opposed to my father who would drag me places I didn't want to be so I couldn't spend time with friends'

Whether I like it or not, it has affected me.** I try hard not to take it out on all men, but I am sure some men have probably sensed some hostility at some time or other.**

So, my question is, (and please be honest people that is why I am asking). Although, I would never tell anyone this stuff on a first date, it would eventually be apparent. How do men really view this stuff

Thanks

CM

[/quote]

I'm not a man either. I imagine that how most men views a woman from dysfunctional family depends far more on what she looks like and how she acts than her family's dysfunction.

That said, I'll say more. I heard advice similar to what your mom told you about observing how a man interacts with his mother. My husband doesn't have very many nice things to say about his mother. I married him anyway-- I wasn't going to fault him for his mother's faults. Yet, in retrospect I see the wisdom in the advice to look at how a man treats his mother to get a glimpse at how he'll treat the woman he marries.

My husband is a good man--a very good man--but how he interacts with his mother affects how he interacts with me. Some of the struggle in our marriage has related to healing his old wounds. Actions or words from me that hint at his mom's behavior or words, he doesn't always deal with rationally. Sometimes when he deals with me, he acts as if he's dealing with his wacky mother. More that once, I've reminded him that I also have two arms and two legs and female body parts, like his mother.

He's learned to deal with his mother by often dismissing and ignoring his mother and/or leaving me to deal with his mom. He knows his mom is difficult, but I don't think he realizes how difficult it has been for me to deal with her too. After years of marriage, I finally decided to let my husband be the one who primarily deals with his mom. That helps, but he comes back home frustrated and grumbling. And as I said earlier, how he interacts with his mother affects how he interacts with me. He needs more virtue and charity from me after he comes back from dealing with his mom.

In-law troubles can bring troubles into the marriage if one is not careful. Beyond simply meaning that they will have to deal with the wacky relatives, they will also have to deal with the after-affects of wacky relatives. How a person has learned to deal with members of the opposite sex has much to do with their family of origen.

Learn to separate your father's and brother's destructive and dysfunctional behavior from the behavior of all other men. Sure, there will be some similarities between your brother and father and whatever man you marry--they probably all have two eyes and a nose in addition to male body parts. Be careful not to let what you wrote that I bolded become a pattern for your future relationship with the man you marry. Also be careful that you don't choose a man who is very distant because you fear someone who is dysfunctional when close. If your husband occassionally glances up from the newspaper (or more likely these days, the computer) to notice you and interact with you, don't go off the deepend.


#8

[quote="gardenswithkids, post:7, topic:221618"]

In-law troubles can bring troubles into the marriage if one is not careful. Beyond simply meaning that they will have to deal with the wacky relatives, they will also have to deal with the after-affects of wacky relatives. How a person has learned to deal with members of the opposite sex has much to do with their family of origin.

[/quote]

I would agree with this but add that it depends upon how the adult child has dealt with the "wacky relatives," as you so nicely term them. Has he (or she) merely run away, gotten distance, done a "geographical cure?" Or is there some consciousness of WHY these relatives are so wacky and what harm has been done because of them? Therapy isn't always necessary but it can help in many cases.

Does the person compensate for parental or family dysfunction in any other way - such as alcohol use or addictions of any kind? Many times the 2nd generation of alcoholics, if not alcoholic themselves, will end up with other addictions such as work addiction or overeating.

The main thing to watch for is an awareness that the parent is less than optimal and a determination not to let the dysfunction run or ruin one's life. The awareness is everything. And willingness to improve. And a fanatical devotion to the Pope...oh never mind, that's just the Spanish Inquisition...


#9

I treat people by the way they act, not their families. If the women acts like a dysfunctional lunatic, than I'd run away fast. If she acts normal, than great. We can talk about the family stuff much later in the relationship.

People bring up too much too soon. When talking to one gal, she started going on a about a family history on the first or second date. I was thinking "WOAH! Bit to early for that stuff lass." We a had maybe one more date then I gleefully pulled the plug on that "relationship"


#10

When I was dating my now-husband, he knew that I came from an alcoholic family. He also knew I'd been to therapy for it as well as support groups. It didn't make him afraid to date me, since I was aware of the problems in my family and of their effect on me. I'd been working these issues out for many years. If I were in denial, he would have been much more cautious about continuing to date me.

It sounds like you're very much aware of the family problems and have put boundaries in place to protect yourself. A guy who likes you will be glad you are emotionally safe from unhealthy people.

However, you did use the word "hostility," and if that still comes up in male/female interactions, then it's something you should probably work through for you own peace of mind, whether you're single or in a relationship.


#11

I come from a dysfunctional family. My mother left my father for another man. She blames me for it. I was 18 years old. I can only take so much of her lies and drama. I see her once every 3-5 months. My brother sees her once every 3-4 years. Her own family has seen her once in 5 years.

Her sister is worse. Her sister had my oldest cousin with a one night stand. My grandfather raised him. Her first marriage was a disaster. My grandfather raised the two kids from that marriage even to this day. My grandfather is 87. Her third marriage was an even bigger disaster to a man that beat her and assaulted her. She spoils the two kids from that man and rejected the two from her first marriage two times. Those two cousins are a mess emotionally and mentally.

On my dads side, many dont speak to each other. There are a lot of problems on his side. Its hard to say which is worse. Probably my mothers side.

We dont eat together or go to church together normally. I had a girlfriend that held it against me that my family never sat down to eat together. There is only so much that I can do.

Catholic women get upset that my family is fractured. They all want someone from a family that is stable and successful. I had no control over my parents and family problems. Yet I get the blame for it from "Catholic" girls.

I think that it would help if Catholic women were more understanding of a fractured family. Catholic men are normally more understanding of such things than women.


#12

All guys will view this differently, based on what they think they can handle or what they need. Some guys may be hesitant to pursue you because their own families may have great dysfunction, and he might want a potential stabilizing force for his children. Other men, maybe it won't bother so much because they feel called to discern marriage with you.

I was always afraid that the amount of "baggage" I carried would turn off any truly good Catholic man, or that I'd end up with another late convert such as myself (not that it would have bothered me). But that wasn't God's plan. My fiancé comes from the most normal, functional, salt-of-the-earth mid-west family that this wacky Southern girl could ever dream of! At first I thought there was no way that who I was or who my family was wouldn't affect him, but...it hasn't, at least negatively. He feels both of us have a greater calling to love those in my family who suffer the most from dysfunction, and we enjoy bearing this cross together.

I think men will react based on who they are and what they are looking for, and you can't control that. It seems like you have made great strides to control your response and your involvement with some of the dysfunction, and that's all anyone can ask you to do. :)


#13

[quote="mjs1987, post:11, topic:221618"]

Catholic women get upset that my family is fractured. They all want someone from a family that is stable and successful. I had no control over my parents and family problems. Yet I get the blame for it from "Catholic" girls.

I think that it would help if Catholic women were more understanding of a fractured family. Catholic men are normally more understanding of such things than women.

[/quote]

This has not been my experience at all. I feel like I've seen you say things like this several times, too much rejection in your past maybe?


#14

[quote="kib, post:13, topic:221618"]
This has not been my experience at all. I feel like I've seen you say things like this several times, too much rejection in your past maybe?

[/quote]

Good point Kib. I get this impression as well. People tend to over play rejection. You get rejected, you sigh, you move on. Even if it's happen alot.

Some people play the "overly cynical" card. It's sad.


#15

[quote="mjs1987, post:11, topic:221618"]

Catholic women get upset that my family is fractured. They all want someone from a family that is stable and successful. I had no control over my parents and family problems. Yet I get the blame for it from "Catholic" girls.

I think that it would help if Catholic women were more understanding of a fractured family. Catholic men are normally more understanding of such things than women.

[/quote]

I think it works both ways. Most Catholic men that showed interest in me were shocked 'Wouldn't such a good Catholic girl know to forgive' Mean while their families are walking all over them and they are coming accross as whimps.

Personally, I think I would do best with a man that doesn't keep in too close touch with his family. I could never handle in-laws medling too closely in my life. But then again maybe if they were healthy it would be OK

I also think society in general has a mistaken view that Catholic family = close family

The reality is all people have crosses to bear whether they follow the church or not


#16

[quote="cmscms, post:15, topic:221618"]
I
I also think society in general has a mistaken view that Catholic family = close family

[/quote]

You hit it out of the park with that comment. So many people think that Catholic familes are close, have no problems, never argue, have wonderful kids, etc.

Catholic families can have just has much trauma as any other religion, or no religion at all.


#17

Probably would depend on how you dealt with your upbringing, you know. A child only has so much control over where he/she lives:D

Both husbands knew full well of my past when we became serious. I do have to confess, I was afraid to tell the second the full story of my past (but little by little, I did), the first was well aware. Thing is, some things scarred me for life, I am afraid. I suspect some things I had great difficulty dealing with affected our intimacy. So, I can well understand someone's desire to know a SO's background.


#18

[quote="Rascalking, post:16, topic:221618"]
You hit it out of the park with that comment. So many people think that Catholic familes are close, have no problems, never argue, have wonderful kids, etc.

Catholic families can have just has much trauma as any other religion, or no religion at all.

[/quote]

Ahem.
The foster family that did the most damage in terms of emotional, psychological and physical abuse were Catholic. Yep. I'm not laying the sexual abuse at their feet b/c they weren't aware the family friend was warped...oh, yeah, and the family friend was Catholic, too...was an usher at the parish church I went to. Please...


#19

[quote="phoenixrrt62, post:18, topic:221618"]
Ahem.
The foster family that did the most damage in terms of emotional, psychological and physical abuse were Catholic. Yep. I'm not laying the sexual abuse at their feet b/c they weren't aware the family friend was warped...oh, yeah, and the family friend was Catholic, too...was an usher at the parish church I went to. Please...

[/quote]

How does this reflect negatively on Catholicism?


#20

[quote="kib, post:19, topic:221618"]
How does this reflect negatively on Catholicism?

[/quote]

I was responding to this:
***Quote:
Originally Posted by cmscms:
I also think society in general has a mistaken view that Catholic family = close family
You hit it out of the park with that comment. So many people think that Catholic familes are close, have no problems, never argue, have wonderful kids, etc.

Catholic families can have just has much trauma as any other religion, or no religion at all. ***
-not your religion in general. Sorry if I didn't make that clear...


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