19 answers

How to Get Rid of Toxic Family Members???

I am at the point were I don't want my kids or myself around my brother in law and sister in law anymore at this point in time. How do I do it should I tell her how I feel or just stop communicating with them? We haven't seen each other since my daughters 3 birthday get together which has been almost 3 1/2 months and neither of our families make an effort to see each other but my son's birthday is coming up and I don't want them over to our house. A little background would be nice so here is a little info. My father in law was an alcoholic when my husband and his brother were growing up and was never there for them and it has caused a lot of issues with both boys I really do feel like my brother in law is now an alcoholic and my sister in law is just a plain not friendly person and is all about drama and attention. They do nothing for my kids except for Christmas and birthdays but you always get that we have to feeling instead of we want to feeling. I have three nieces and the oldest will be 16 and is having a lot of teenage issues but most I feel has to do with the environment over there at her moms (my brother in law is her step-dad and they do not get along). My almost 8 year old niece acts just like her mother and I can't stand the way she treats my son when they are around each other. My son is the only boy in the family so it's hard on him sometimes and they have always been jealous that we had a boy and they didn't. Any advise would be wonderful please don't be negative or judging.
I have got the what are you teaching your kids if you don't invite them to stuff well I feel it's best for my kids to not be around the negative drinking people. Thank you

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you everybody for your advice we did have a family Easter get together today and my BIL and SIL had nothing to do with my kids like always and I didn't really talk to them so I think that's how it's going to go for awhile I will only deal with them when I have to. As for my son's birthday I did tell them they could come over Saturday night if they wanted to that was a month ago and I'm not going to remind them about it so we will see if they come or not.

More Answers

Don't make a big deal out of birthdays and Christmas. Keep those celebrations private, small, and quiet. IF they find out, or even if you mention in passing conversations, simply say we are going to keep it light. You don't want people to feel obligated to give/celebrate. You will begin to distance yourself without being rude. You can't change people. Let them be and make subtle changes on your home front.

2 moms found this helpful

You have every right to make your own home an alcohol-free zone. Would that help?

2 moms found this helpful

I am a bit more blunt.
BIL- Hey, why didn't you invite us to your party?
Me - Because you drink to much and I don't want my kids around that.

SIL-Hey, why didn't you invite us to your party?
Me- Because every time you come over you are so negative that it distracts from the fun party I am trying to have for my son. Also, your daughter is extremely rude to my son, so it's not fun for him.

Your main job is to take care of your immediate family. Who cares if they don't like you? They don't live with you, they don't raise your children, they don't give you money, they don't sleep with you. Oh well!
Maybe it's harsh. Maybe it's rude. But, it's the truth..and if these people are toxic then they don't need to be in your life or your son's life.
Just my 2 cents!

2 moms found this helpful

I just realized after 40 years that I am not going to get any acceptance from my family. Oh it hurt!! I finally figured out that there is not a damn thing that I do right. I really don't care now. I think the key to dealing with negative people is to be a really happy person and be very secure with yourself. I have always been a happy person and raised my kids to be very secure and non judgmental. I think that this would be a great thing for you and your children. My daughter (who is now 19 and in her first year in college) is just a wonderful person with a very strong, secure, non-judgmental personality. We were talking the other day when she came down for spring break how I make a lot of people insecure. She is very sweet and would not mention any names. I knew that she was talking about my sister and my mother. It just makes me sad that they try to ruin my relationship with my daughter by talking about me to her. I am a single mother and times are hard for us financially right now. My relatives try to make sure that she realizes that they are helping her because I can't be a good mother. She is a smart girl. I have to admit that I raised her right. Long story short....read all the self help books that you can. I read the self help books a lot to expand my knowledge of my own mind. It is great!! Your kids are watching you and learning from your emotions. Laugh and be happy and sad, unhappy people do not want to be around you. Remember, a sad person has to deal with themselves 24/7!!

2 moms found this helpful

i say avoid them, and if you get the "have to" feeling from them, they'll probably be relieved(family functions cutting into drinking time!). You're teaching your kids to be discriminate when choosing whom has access into their lives, and not to be guilt-ridden people pleasers, sounds like a win-win to me!

2 moms found this helpful

I'm sure you'll receive many response to this question as most families have someone related that is 'toxic'. I think avoidance is a common response and honestly don't know if that is the right thing to do or not. I think if the family member is a danger to your child, protecting them is your responsibility and therefore, avoiding them would be warranted. It's a fine line as to what you are teaching your children - is it teaching them to avoid anyone they don't like or is it teaching them to surround themselves with positive minded individuals in hopes that they will do the same? If you decide to spend less time with your brother & sister-in-law, if your children ask why they haven't seen their aunt/uncle, you will need to find a positive way to explain to them the reason. Helping them to understand in a non-judgemental way, that isn't damaging or negative to their view of their aunt /uncle will help your family in the long run.
Blessings

1 mom found this helpful

Thats a hard question, but I get it! If you truly feel that these people shouldn't be around your kids, then they shouldn't. How does your husband feel? Maybe you could try talking to your brother and sister in law, and tell them what behavior or conversation you feel is appropriate around your kids and whats not. And then if they can't abide by that, they won't be welcome at your home. At least that way they can't say you didnt try. Family issues are so tricky and just difficult. I COMPLETELY sympathize with you! My family could be their own reality show, and NEVER run out of drama. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I would have to agree with Tammy S. She says it straight to the point- I have had to do just this. I have this similiar situation with my lil brother and his wife. She makes the rules, and he just has to follow- if she is wrong or not! I sat there one day and spoke with my children (ages 14/10/8) about why things were going to change. To my surprise, there were "wanting" me to not hang out so much with them!!!
Amazingly, our kids know way more ahead of what we do. Sometimes, the families know how bad they are- my bro did- and I am sure your family does to. Avoiding this longer and hoping they will get the hint WILL NOT WORK. Be a grown up, throw the first hook, and let them know how you feel- They will not understand and be offended- expect that- but speak your mind, and make sure they hear the 1st and last words ...
I am sure you will do just fine. You control/allow what your family will be ok with, and you are the one that holds their future... remember that!

1 mom found this helpful

If you don't feel like these people are good for your children to be around, well, you are the parent and know your kids best. Do what you feel is best for them. From the sounds of things they are negative people with some problems and I would not want my kids around them all the time either.

Especially when it's your son's birthday, he should be the priority and if these people bring him down and are going to make his birthday less fun for him, I certainly wouldn't invite them. And by not inviting them you are only teaching your children to avoid people who bring you down, which is a good thing for them to learn in my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful

We must be in the same family!!! I just would not invite them, if they even notice or know there birthdays. My brother has no idea when my children were born so it worked out well for me. My husbands family sends cards to my son........ignores the other two all together. They are my husbands step children and have been in the family for 16 years, but do not consider them family so I do not go when they are not invited. I have had one bday party with all invited......well it turned into a drinking gross party, I was not happy. . Never invited anyone over again. Now that was 10 years ago. We always went to the bday parties when all of us were invited, as they got older and no parties were held. We still sent a card with money to show we think of them still. I think your right not having them around when they are drinking and being all negative. Your children come first and do what ever you want when it comes to birthdays. I find that doing nothing works real well when dealing with ignorant family members. Your a good mom.

1 mom found this helpful

S.,
my first thought was move and don't give them the new address!!! But you need to do what is best for your children. I keep repeating myself but what our kids learn a good 80% of the time if not more is a learned behavior, what they see is what they do, what they hear is what they say. What your nieces are is a product of their parents, and unfortunately is not a positive behavior or atmosphere for them and for your children either. I would try to talk to your kids and in a nice way explain to them that their aunt and uncle have issues that need to be dealt with, and those issues are not positive but rather negative; so it's best for the family to give them some time for them to deal with those issues/problems.
Have your husband talk to his brother and try to be supportive and see if he is willing to get professional help for his drinking. If he says no, which he probably will, then tell him that you (your husband) rather stay away from them until he gets help. But that if he does gets help, your husband will be willing to support him in any way possible and be there for him.
I don't think you should get in the middle of it, because eventually his brother will probably blame you for his brother's decision. The wife or the one not related to the person with the issue is usually the one that gets the blame. But don't cut them off all together, call them every so often to see how they are doing, send them birthday cards, Christmas cards, etc. so they can see that you guys DO care for them.
What is most important here, is that your husband is in agreement with you.
But you have every right in the world to look out for your children and remove them from any negative atmosphere.
Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm with you. My brother-in-law can be great, but his wife is a negative pill, and she is connected at the hip with her negative pill of a cousin. My husband makes an effort with his brother (if we can do it without the wife), and that works sometimes, but we have always invited them for holidays/birthdays. Luckily, she usually flakes. If it wasn't for the brother, we wouldn't even invite them, so if the brother in law is a problem too, then don't invite either of them.

How does your husband feel, is he feeling obligated to invite them? It is really on him since it is his family, but the sooner you can get that influence away from your kids, the better.

1 mom found this helpful

If you don't want your kids around these people than it is your right to say so and frankly it is you job to keep them from harmful people. I have an alcoholic bi-polar mom and have made the choice to not let her be a part of my sons life unless she is at a family function that I cannot control.

1 mom found this helpful

The most important thing has to be the well being of your immediate family, being your kids and your husband. What does your husband have to say about it? One way to get them to not come is to tell them that the birthday party, since it is for CHILDREN, is an alcohol free event. Being around negative people is never a good idea as it will only add drama to your life, which I can tell you have NO want to have. From what you have said I think that you know what the answer to your question is but you may feel a little guilty cutting them out of your life. DON'T!! Your life is about making yourself, your kids and your husband happy, not others. Do what is best for you and everything else will work itself out.

1 mom found this helpful

Do just that. Limit your time with them. They are still family, so if you go to their house, leave the kids home if you don't want to them influenced, but you also should explain to your children their behavior so they are aware it's not the best behavior. You can let the kids talk to them all day over the phone if you need to.

1 mom found this helpful

I have to agree with some of the other responses!

Its OKAY to have a birthday party/christmas/or anything else for that matter WITHOUT them. If they are feeling guilty - like they MUST buy your child a gift - its not from the heart, and they will probably feel relieved that they don't have to do it this time around! More money for bars right?? Sad...but often true. I went through this for years with my brother and his ex wife. She was so rude and was always out to make me look horrible in front of my own family. So I feel terrible for you. I still don't have a close relationship with my brother or his family - and I guess thats just how its going to be because we don't have much in common. Things got so rough with our families (parents included) that we moved 500 miles away last year!!!! It was by far the best thing we could have done. We are finally our OWN family now - without drama or distractions. We come and go as we please, rarely have to entertain anyone - perfect! lol

I would plan something completely different then the norm for your child's birthday. If you normally have it at home and invite everyone - don't do it this time around. Have it some where public! Not sure how old your child/ren is/are but have it some where child friendly - but not alcohol friendly! They wont even want to come then. Maybe start your own family traditions for christmas, easter, etc. Eventually it will become your norm and they won't feel obligated to come. Really the only thing that matters is that YOU and your IMMEDIATE family are happy - and if its too much work to be happy around them, then just let it all fizzle out. Keep yourself busy with your hubby and your kids...dont worry about the rest of them - they too will start doing their own things and then it wont feel so tense that you have to be together.

Good luck and I hope that helps some..

1 mom found this helpful

What does your husband feel about this? I agree that these particular family members sound less than ideal, and I understand why you don't want to be around them...but you and your husband have to be in agreement. Additionally, it's not so much about, what are you teaching your children if you don't invite them over?, but more about what aren't you teaching your children? There are and will always be people that act inappropriately and your children need to know that and still manage to be okay around them. Also, if your niece is acting rude or whatever while at your house, enforce your rules, there is nothing wrong with that at all. The drinking is a whole different ball game and I accept that is on a different level, but you also have to consider, does your BIL drink around your children, is he visibly intoxicated, how does that exactly play out? You make some valid points and as a mother you do have to look out for your children, but to be frank, the thing that comes to my mind is that they are just the parts of family that you don't like, but every family has them. You may not wish to be around them, but he is your husband's brother and you may just have to deal with it. My other question, and it is truly a question that I just thought of in terms of family dynamic, is what does MIL think about all this? Would SHE be hurt, offended, etc. if your BIL was suddenly no longer on the guest list? That could also cause more drama for you, your husband and your children. I am not advocating either choice, I just think that before you make a move you truly need to consider all the options.

1 mom found this helpful

That's super hard b/c it's family but at the end of the day, you have to do whats best for your family. My mom and sis suffer from mental disorders, making them harmful to be around (emotionally) and I've straight out told them that I won't subject my baby to their erratic behaviors. Its hard b/c they can't even control how they are and they have taken offense but I can't subject my child to it. I've subjected myself and myself have issues so I know what I"m talking about here! Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

instead of having birthday at your house, take your child away for his/her bday to do something fun- invite one of his thier freinds along. I have drinking family members, so I don't include them at my children's parties anymore- it just doesn't seem appropriate that they are standing in a circle smoking and drinking in my backyard while my kid is trying to have his birthday party. Maybe they should just go hang out at a bar if they can't refrain.

At xmas- go to a freind's house or find something else to do.

1 mom found this helpful

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