I need answers for my family problems... Help!


#1

I am the youngest (now 42) in a family of cradle catholics.
For the most part (other than the odd Sunday mass) my extended family does not live a life that exemplifies the ways of our lord Jesus (my opinion). We have constantly gone through estrangements; resembling the changing seasons. When we (my own family) visit them, you get the sense that they would rather be somewhere else. When thye visit us; it’s like they can’t wait to go… (You can feel the insincerity):frowning:

They always talk about what they have, where their going, what they’ve done, who they know, etc :mad: …it’s hilarious…but sad.
They are gossipers, constant liars (of even the littlest things), arrogant, with unwavering pride, lovers of money, constantly foul mouthed, :mad: they invite you over and treat you like poop, all the while having witnessed them treat acquaintances like royalty. They try to entrap you (even using the few teachings of Christ that they know) against you.

It’s like a bizzaro world, (seriously)

I really don’t like “knowing about them “ anymore, much less being around them.
But the lord says…
“Turn the other check”
“Love your enemies”
“Do unto others as you would…”
“If you only love those who love you….”
And so on.:blush:

But I feel like… “Hey…, they are “Catholic”, they know where to find the word of God if they want to. They are not starving or poor or lack shelter…. Why do I need to be a part of this?
I am not helping them to Jesus (they don’t respect me) but they are possibly dragging me down, possibly causing me to sin, (getting upset – having angry thoughts, etc)

:rolleyes: Why should I feel guilty of turning the page on this part of my life?

I have a wife and 2 kids, never miss a Sunday, do bible study, charitable works - including our time. I’m also planning to join KofC. We are always looking to help others and to do the right thing. We teach our children about the Lord, as well as learn and grow more & more ourselves.
We are Pro-Life, for traditional marriage, etc (While my extended family have assorted views on these issues and others)

When I think of having to even just talk on the phone with my extended family… it depresses me, it puts me in an upsetting mood. There are so many incidences from the past, present, (and look close enough) coming around in the foreseeable future, that make me wonder…WHY be part of this???:shrug:

I don’t know what to do!!!
Why should I feel guity???

Help!!!


#2

Hmmm… your experience sounds almost identical to mine. But I look at it a little differently. What I have found in just about everything in life, attitude is what makes the difference between being miserable and happy. So here is how I interpret / relate.

  1. If my family criticizes, mocks, or is otherwise rude, I see it for what it is… a weakness in their character not mine. Either they are envious, ignorant, or just lack basic etiquette. It is hard to be hurt by or get mad at a person you feel sorry for.

  2. If they say something that is purposely hurtful, I look at it two ways. First, if I am hurt, they win, the worst of their character gets what it wants. If on the other hand I ignore it, laugh it off, give them the benefit of the doubt, then I win. I show myself to have a better character, it sweetens our relationship, and I refuse to be in a bad mood because of them. Secondly, the other reason I just ignore things is because it is a waste of my time, energy and emotion to get dragged down into the sewer for absolutely no good reason. I’m gonna save my emotional energy for lovemaking or knockout battles with my husband or my kids, where the outcome actually matters.

  3. When I meet people who say they no longer have contact with their families, I feel sorry for them. The termination of any long term relationship is always painful and sad. It is also a little imature…“I’m not going to talk to you anymore if you are mean to me.” I am better than that. I am tougher than that. I don’t want people feeling sorry for me. And I choose not to go around life without an extended family. God only gave me one extended family, its the one I have, and not even their ignorance can make me go throughout life without it.

  4. I have caller ID. If I’ve had a rough day, I don’t answer the phone. And say to myself “so there”!

  5. I know my family loves me, and I know I love them. Nobody is perfect, and the family God gave me has some weaknesses that are abondantly clear to me. OK, I accept that.

  6. When things get really bad, I remember what Dr. Laura always said on her radio show. God gives you 2 chances to have a great family relationship. One is with the family you were born into, and the second is with the family you bare. Every hurt or wrong or mean spirited thing that is said to me, I make a mental note of to never repeat to my extended family in the generations to come. This makes me better. It makes me stronger. It helps me feel in control. I am using the bad experience to make the experience with my other family better.

Hope this helps. Remember God loves you, and so does your spouose and kids. Just swim in that love.


#3

Thank you for your thoughts (ecp007). All that you’ve said is understandable and I have of course tried it. My wife tells me the same thing as well.

But how can I continuously put this into practice with them?.. They would (No they HAVE) taken it as a sign of weakness and that they are then right about all and everything. Subsequently they turn up the “volume” as opposed to the other alternative.

I’ll give you a short anecdote that occurred just this past week. Keep in mind that this incident barely registers on “my radar” in comparison to most issues.

My Brother John’ daughter, Mary recently found out that she is pregnant.

As I later discovered, our Sister Lisa was told last Sunday.

I spoke with Lisa on the phone Monday & Wednesday evenings of this week, and she said nothing.

I spoke with my brother on Wednesday & Thursday of this week and I saw him and his Wife this past Friday. At all times I at some point always ask “what’s new?”

NOTHING NEW! I guess an announcement of expectation doesn’t qualify. Either when asked or on its own.

I went to visit my sister last night and only find all this out through my niece Pam.

Again, remember this incident is very insignificant to other goings-on.

I know the Lord Jesus said turn the other cheek… although we only have two.

When does it become foolish, and we risk that they in effect turn us into them?

Even Jesus dusted off his sandals and said “this town will be better off then Sod&Gom…” when those people of the town did not accept the Lord’s teachings or him.

What am I to learn from this example?

It’s tough… the lord wants us to forgive but when do we need to move on.

If someone keeps slapping your cheeks over and over…when do you say enough?
When do you cross the line of reasonableness and become just a fool.

I was born Catholic, but I also came to my faith through reason…unlike some other religions that are blind and dangerous and have no truth in them.
Should I stop using that reason when it comes to family?
I’ve read my Bible… including Solomon’s Proverbs.
I feel that God’s word, along with our own experiences and our reasoning capabilities, all work towards a superior ability of discernment. Wisdom VS Foolishness.
Maybe I’m wrong - I’m not 100% sure, but I think I’ve discerned that this family situation as it relates to my family is hopeless and is only a negative in my life and that of my own family.
Like you said I could use all the time that I waste on them , toward some other good cause or person in need (spiritual or other wise)


#4

what do you care if your family thinks you are weak??? only what you think about yourself matters.

2 things …

  1. ya, you talk to your family WAAAAAAAAYYYY more than I talk to mine. I wouldn’t blame you for adding a little distance.

  2. If it hurt you that noone told you about your neice being pregnant, then you would probably miss your family a lot if you talked to them less.

That is the mental analysis you need to do. I only have one family, would I rather be without them, or with them with all their faults.

If I was starving, and the only thing available was cabbage, I would probably eat the cabbage, even though I hate cabbage. So are you hungry enough for your family’s attention to eat their cabbage?

What will drive you crazy is hoping and wishing they are different. And wondering “why didn’t they tell me” and on and on and on… I always think about the old saying “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing, it’s not going to work, and it will annoy the pig.”

So just accept that nothing you will do, can change your family. The only thing you can change is your attitude.

That said, I don’t see anything wrong with limitting the phone calls to once a month, instead of 3 times a week. My $0.02.


#5

what do you care if your family thinks you are weak??? only what you think about yourself matters.

[SIGN] - I agree[/SIGN]

  1. ya, you talk to your family WAAAAAAAAYYYY more than I talk to mine. I wouldn’t blame you for adding a little distance.

[SIGN]- I agree as well … and I will do just that. (Again)[/SIGN]

  1. If it hurt you that noone told you about your neice being pregnant, then you would probably miss your family a lot if you talked to them less.

[SIGN]- of course I would miss them (but maybe it s a sense of missing what I never really had or will have with them, as well) I love them , but the bond / connection is probably maternal residue, rather than being of faith, morals, divine philosophy, common interests & pursuits, etc It’s forced because of our blood relation and nothing else.[/SIGN]

That is the mental analysis you need to do. I only have one family, would I rather be without them, or with them with all their faults.

[SIGN]- If they ever needed me I would always be there (as occurred during the last half of 07 – health crisis resulting in a passing of a family member) but without a crisis… its just friction all the time.
What do I do, hope for a crisis so that we all realize what really matters? No! of course not! Not that way![/SIGN]

If I was starving, and the only thing available was cabbage, I would probably eat the cabbage, even though I hate cabbage. So are you hungry enough for your family’s attention to eat their cabbage?

[SIGN]- If I ate that cabbage and it tuned me into less than what God wants for me…. What then?
Remember… Though shall not live by cabbage alone….lol[/SIGN]

What will drive you crazy is hoping and wishing they are different. And wondering “why didn’t they tell me” and on and on and on… I always think about the old saying “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing, it’s not going to work, and it will annoy the pig.”

[SIGN]- Your right…and it does… and I won’t
But if I have to be another person in order to be around them,whats the point……???[/SIGN]

So just accept that nothing you will do, can change your family. The only thing you can change is your attitude.
[SIGN]

  • I think I am finally conceding that – it’s been hard to do so.[/SIGN]

That said, I don’t see anything wrong with limitting the phone calls to once a month, instead of 3 times a week. My $0.02.

[SIGN]- Thanks for sharing your thoughts[/SIGN]


#6

#7

I hear you! I have one particular sibling who has clearly gone “over the edge” and has become so left-wing I don’t know him anymore. He defends abortion, Planned Parenthood, the homosexual agenda, etc. Just loves those ultra-liberal social activists nuns, Michael Moore, environmental extremism, etc. I’ve tried politely to point him in the right direction. I told him of my firsthand experiences re. why the Catholic, pro-life, etc. way is THE way. But he just blew me off completely. So now I pray his eyes be opened, and I totally ignore him except for a Mass card I send at Christmas. He’s lost it–really lost it, and I don’t feel I do him any favor to pretend all is well and we’ll "just get along.’ It’s obvious he hates me, hates the truth and wants to live in his Leftist fantasy world. Just keep praying–God will ‘work’ on that person!


#8

…just want to add: I know some people think it extreme to cut off family relationships. But I have honestly tried, and to converse with such people when their hearts and minds are completely closed get one nowhere. I feel angry, yet sorry for them. But the most irritating thing is their arrogance and righteousness. They think they can oppose the Church, everything traditional, embrace Socialism, abortion, homosexuality, etc. and still consider themselves Catholic. Excuse me, but where does God say any of that is acceptable?? Yet they defend it to the teeth. I feel it is both a spiritual and a mental problem. Was recently reading how it is now believed ‘liberals’ do indeed suffer from a mental affliction. I believe a book was recently written about this. Anyway–I believe rather than hang around and get angry at the evil they defend, I’ll keep a distance, pray continually for them, and remember they at Christmas with a Mass remembrance. (A hint-hint…)


#9

It‘s the lies that are the worst, then there’s the air of pompousness, the sense that they are comfortable in this culture as long as they can entertain themselves with “things” and live in a neighbourhood far far away. They live in a totally detached (from God & reality) state of mind!

I can’t deal with them.
The only time I sense them to be a little humbler is when hard times hit - then God is in there words – “pray to God for help” and so on.
They only acknowledge and get close to God when they need him! (that’s what it appears like from their actions)
My brother actually said to me - “I’'m to busy - I don’t have time for (God) Church or reading my Bible”


#10

Yes- they really do live in another very secular world. I feel both pity and anger towards such people. They’re truly lost, yet they somehow think they and their sources (think worldly and extremist) know better than everyone-even God! We really do need to pray and sacrifice for them. I find it does no good to keep in touch; they only see that as acceptance of their immorality and anti-Godly views.


#11

Say a rosary once a day for your extended family they really need someone to pray for them, then say another for your immediate family that you all will never fall into that lifestyle. Forgive them always. Limit your visits like mentioned above. Stay away from that which causes you to sin.

God bless all you do in the name of Jesus Christ.

P.S. Don’t tell them that you are praying for them. Keep it to yourself.

Here is a quote from Mother Teresa:
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
Say that to them when they are gossiping, might help


#12

A great idea- the Rosary is powerful! Perhaps one could have Masses said for this intention, also.


#13

The foul-mouthed part would really get to me.

I’m not so sure I’d be bothered by the talk about where they went and what they did. That just seems like back-fence chatter to me, but I guess it just goes to show nothing can frustrate you like your own family!

I’d start to wonder if maybe your walking the walk as well as talking the talk isn’t making them feel a bit guilty themselves.


#14

I think the actions/beliefs of such people are examples of demonic influence. “Liberation Theology” has done SO much damage to well-intentioned people. They have no idea how brain-washed they have become into worldly views. They don’t seem capable of taking a close look at what they accept; they accept it at face value. They see 5% and believe they have the ‘whole’ truth, and that faithful Catholics are ignorant, gullible, etc. Satan is really working hard on these people, as evidenced by their hard hearts, arrogance, refusal to consider the other side, etc. “Father forgive them; they know not what they do.” Wow–isn’t that true with these people!! So sad.


#15

That’s what my wfe (also) thinks.

Water & Oil I guess .

Thanks to everyone…your words helped and are comforting;)


#16

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.