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  #1  
Old 01-25-2013, 01:49 PM
gmarie21 gmarie21 is offline
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extended birth family issues that make me want to go ugh

I am having an issue. I have a relationship with my birth families, however, a few on my birth father's side seem to take EVERYTHING I post on FB as an attack and judgemental and proceed to call me names or make some seriously crazy accusations (I try as best as I can to stick with discussing the issue, not the person, and what I post is on my wall not directed at anyone, usually just quotes or new articles). This week one told me to jump in a lake after telling me I was judgmental and not Christlike and ended with a quote from her grandmother about going to hell. The other cut me off again after saying that I am self-righteous and criticizing my choice in friends (the last time he told me off he was extremely rude about my family in which I 100% told him to back off and that he has no right to be so rude about people that he does not know).

Needless to say I do not know if I should do a full pull-back or a partial pull-back (just calling bio dad and bio grandma on the phone but not visiting). Normally I would just pull back and let things cool off, but I have a biological half sister who is my daughter's age and well she and my daughter enjoy spending time together the times we get together every few months. I could always arrange to just spend time with her through her mom (who doesn't talk to bio dad).

I grew up in a family that was a loud and proud opinionated Italian/Irish family. We fought, we talked over each other, we were sometimes rude, but at the end, we forgave and love each other. We all love debate and maybe that is why we do not take it personally when someone disagrees. The way my biological family members act as adults is shocking to say the least, or at least, not what I am use to. What would you do (or have you done) with this kind of conflict with birth family?

Thank you again. I am not the type of person who wants to cut off anyone and don't think opinions are worth walking away from people which is why I am stuck right now.
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  #2  
Old 01-25-2013, 07:32 PM
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This type of problem on Facebook isn't limited to adoptees and natural parents -- the presidential election resulted in some very hard feelings and grudges among several of my extended family members. Even my best friend, who I've been friends with for the past 50 years, unfriended me at one point because I'm a die-hard liberal and she's a teabagger. Lol, after the election was over, she sent me a friend request, messaging me that somehow FB had glitched and wiped out her Friends list. I knew that was B.S. because the day she unfriended me, she said some atrocious statement about how all liberals should be "spayed and neutered." She then went on to say that she was dumping any friend who was voting for Obama. Whatever...I accepted her friend request. Now we don't discuss politics, and I block her from seeing my political posts.
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  #3  
Old 01-26-2013, 09:09 AM
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Sitta Sitta is offline
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Gmarie, that's a tough situation to be in. I agree with RavenSong that it's not limited to adoptees/first-relatives. However, I also know that big differences along those lines can lead to serious strain after reunion, and that can make these tenuous new relationships harder to sustain. Major differences in belief have broken up marriages and caused very painful conflicts in non-adoptive households, so in cases where there isn't a longstanding shared history helping to keep the relationship alive, it may seem a lot easier just to drop the contact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmarie21
I try as best as I can to stick with discussing the issue, not the person, and what I post is on my wall not directed at anyone, usually just quotes or new articles
Even if you didn't intend it, that kind of thing can be read by others as a way of subtly poking at their cherished beliefs or identity... especially because there are some people out there who will post things like that specifically in order to make those subtle pokes.

There are ways to try to re-open communication but usually the other person needs to see that you actually are listening to what they are saying and that you do care about their feelings. I've read some communications books that have very good tips on this... the important skill is learning how to really listen to the other person and help them to "feel heard."

Quote:
I grew up in a family that was a loud and proud opinionated Italian/Irish family. We fought, we talked over each other, we were sometimes rude, but at the end, we forgave and love each other. We all love debate and maybe that is why we do not take it personally when someone disagrees. The way my biological family members act as adults is shocking to say the least, or at least, not what I am use to. What would you do (or have you done) with this kind of conflict with birth family?

There are disagreements over topics that don't hit one at the core, and then there are disagreements that do hit someone in a very personal spot. There are also some people who just don't like anybody to disagree with them. It's hard to know exactly what's going on in the situation you describe, but in any case, I hope you're able to repair these relationships and talk things out. Perhaps if you asked them to clarify what is so upsetting then you could understand more about their perspective. After they explain their position perhaps you can explain that just because you disagree with them on some topics doesn't mean you don't want to continue a relationship with them. They might not understand that right now.

Last edited by Sitta : 01-26-2013 at 09:11 AM.
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  #4  
Old 01-26-2013, 10:53 AM
snowwhite4965 snowwhite4965 is offline
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Privacy settings

I have a very large extended bio-and-adoptive-family, so I totally feel you on this one Gmarie.

Regarding the Facebook stuff-- I don't post a bunch of stuff to facebook for just this reason. Social media has a way of letting things like this spin out of control. when I do post things that I don't want to start a 'wall war' over, then I adjust the privacy settings so that the people that might get crazy about it don't even see it.

You can also set categories and block individual people from doing certain things on your page-- I think you can even set it so certain people cannot post on your wall or comment on your posts.

If something does slip through that I don't like or that starts a crazy conversation on my wall, I just delete those comments. Do this enough and they get the message. I simply don't engage with any name-calling or vitriol on my page.

Offline, though, I did end up having to pull back from some members of the birthfamily (my bfather's side) because I just couldn't handle the drama. I was getting firebombed from time to time with nasty emails out of nowhere calling me names, saying that I am a bad daughter, ungrateful, not Christian, etc, etc. The 'Not christian" ones are the best aren't they? As if putting someone on blast on a social media site is somewhere in the Ten Commandments.... thou shalt police the comments and actions of those on the internet...

In all honesty, if I were in your situation I would be thinking along the lines you already are-- focusing on maintaining relationships with the family members that act like grown-ups (your bio-sis's mom). I don't know if that is 'healthy' or sustainable, but in truth it is what I have done in my own life. Take that for what it is worth?

Sorry this is happening to you.
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  #5  
Old 01-28-2013, 07:42 AM
gmarie21 gmarie21 is offline
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Thank you everyone for your advice. @Sitta, fyi, this one relative has posted a few times public criticism of my afamily though he has never met them (I should have cut him off there but I tend to forgive easily and allow varying opinions and people to remain in my life due to the fact that there is the mutual fact that no matter how good or bad we help each other grown and improve - maybe a false ideal, and a bit naive, but I do like to see the good in all people and situations).

Snowwhite, I have settled on taking the same approach that you have suggested. They have issues for sure but I will not allow them to dictate to everyone how the interaction with me will be, nor will I ask anyone to "choose sides" directly nor subtly.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmarie21
@Sitta, fyi, this one relative has posted a few times public criticism of my afamily though he has never met them (I should have cut him off there but I tend to forgive easily and allow varying opinions and people to remain in my life due to the fact that there is the mutual fact that no matter how good or bad we help each other grown and improve - maybe a false ideal, and a bit naive, but I do like to see the good in all people and situations).
Gmarie, I'm really sorry to hear that's what's happening. I definitely understand your perspective of trying to see the good in everyone but what this person is doing is still not fair to you or your afamily. Could you change your settings like snowwhite mentioned?
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:05 PM
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BethVA62 BethVA62 is offline
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Gmarie,
I've had a couple of instances where birth family members have expressed not so nice opinions of my afamily. And the same with afamily about bfamily.

Like yours, these families are different in the way they interact and discuss things, form opinions, and have never met. Really most of the opinions have been formed by stereotypes, and hatred of that stereotype - they've never met or even talked or typed! So any article, picture, comment, whatever that falls on one side of the thing at hand is going to tick one or the other off. LOL I guess it depends on who's or which sore spot it poked.

One of my bfamily members wanted to confront my aparents, in person, about their opinion of his father, my bfather. He wanted to explain, defend, how his father was a good guy, not a dead beat, which I had done. Done deal. He had no idea what their opinion even was, he just assumed. A natural sore spot I can understand, but I couldn't support him in being so angry about it towards my aparents.

Not how I had envisioned their first meeting LOL especially when it was at my daughters wedding. I basically threatened his life in the nicest way possible. Well, at first, then it got not so nice at all. He forced it and he found out what it is like to have a very nice/mean big sister.

My aparents are in their 80's and good people, they don't do conflict. They don't discuss politics, religion, etc., especially at dinner or an event! That's just how they are, and lately I've been thinking it isn't such a bad way to be LOL But then again, they discuss things, get angry or find disagreement, stop discussing, then move along like there was never a conflict and never mention it again. There is no resolution IMO, no chance of understanding, it just gets swept under the rug as indifference to grow a fungus. I don't like that at all.

There was no way I was going to allow this conflict, it wasn't necessary, it wouldn't help anyone. This event was about someone else, not either of them.

I talked with him privately about it, on and on and on, we yelled, we said horrible things, I mirrored his behavior, which was not good! Eventually we found the end of it.
I think it just took more talking and time than I am used to, or have done with anyone else.

My husband and I argue forever, we say everything, we do well at it. But some of our conflicts don't seem to have a meeting point, they will live on forever and ever for the paradoxes that they are LOL I think we like to challenge each other too much, which can be a good thing to keep a balance sometimes, sometimes not so much.

But this was different somehow. We're good now, he feels better, I feel about the same LOL, we understand each other better, it's water over the bridge. Maybe he finally felt like I heard him, I don't really know.

I guess what I am getting at is I learned a different way of arguing or solving a conflict too. I'm not sure how to explain it. Is there ever an end to your bfam's disagreements/conflicts? How do they do it?

You might have to figure out how to argue (or discuss, or not discuss!) their way to put an end to it. To learn how to play their different game for the conflicts to ever end without having to walk away.
Does that make any sense?

It took me a while to see how things worked with my bfamily. It was just different, same sort of thing, just different. I'd like to think I've taught some of them a different way to. It sure did seem like more effort than needed to me tho.

ugh, is right.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:33 PM
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BethVA62 BethVA62 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowwhite4965
The 'Not christian" ones are the best aren't they?

I agree they are the best LOL I take those as a compliment in that instance!

I can't say much, I don't do facebook at all. I wish I did sometimes, but from the negative I have seen it doesn't seem worth it for me. Email causes enough trouble in my world. I do the phone, and I don't always answer! I let everyone know that 98% of the time I don't even know where my phone is, so leave a message.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:41 PM
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BethVA62 BethVA62 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenSong
She then went on to say that she was dumping any friend who was voting for Obama.

A couple of my friends sent me a picture of them holding a sign saying I would be dead to them if I didn't vote for Ron Paul in the primary. It worked out well for me when one called asking for a selfish favor and I got to tell her, did you forget, I'm dead.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:54 PM
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Sitta Sitta is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BethVA62
A couple of my friends sent me a picture of them holding a sign saying I would be dead to them if I didn't vote for Ron Paul in the primary. It worked out well for me when one called asking for a selfish favor and I got to tell her, did you forget, I'm dead.
LOL!
That works.
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