My family is ignoring me

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

About 2months ago my family had gone over to my parents like we usually do on Sundays my 2 younger sisters and my youngest sister older boyfriend was there whom I dislike. My daughter went down for her nap she was sleeping no more than 30 min and they woke her up by slamming doors. I freaked out by yelling at them then my step dad yelled at me like I was 10 years old again and told me my 6 month old daughter at the time was an inconvenience and they don’t need to tippy toe around her. So I packed up and left, I feel my mom is stuck in the middle. We used to talk 5x a week now she my stop by my house 1x a week to c her grand daughter for like 10 min. My 1 sister is talking to me but nobody else is, recently we tried to go over for dinner to try and bury the hatchet and my husband, myself and daughter were completely ignored by my younger sister and step dad it was extremely uncomfortable as this was how I have been treated by him while I was growing up. With all this going on I am unable to focus on my daughter I cry all the time its just tearing me up inside, what is the best solution do I continue on with my life without them?

A: What a difficult thing to have to cope with!

I would ask to have a family meeting with just you, your sisters and your mom and stepdad. Explain that you want to talk about what happened and take steps to correct it. During the meeting just talk about how you feel. Use “I” statements rather than blaming them. In other words, instead of saying, “You are ignoring me,” say “I feel ignored when I am here.” The first way tends to make people defensive and argumentative. The “I” statements tend to keep things clear by you talking about your feelings. Ask them what you could each do to make things improve.

Family meetings like this can be tough, but productive. You may have to enlist your mom’s help in setting it up.

If this feels too difficult I would hire a family therapist to work with you to facilitate the meeting. Families tend to splinter when there are unresolved incidents that don’t get talked about.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Dec 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). My family is ignoring me. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 17, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/12/17/my-family-is-ignoring-me/