Any Thorns on the Family Tree

I am in the process of writing a book about the toll busyness takes on our relationships. In a nutshell: fast-paced living leads to shallow relationships. Many regret their superficial lives but fear greater intimacy will cost them their sanity. The book’s working title is Inconvenient Relationships: Establishing Healthy Connections in a High-Speed World.

In one section of the book, I address challenging family members. How do you deal with those difficult relatives? In particular, I want to focus on six black sheep:

The Naysayer
“You’re inadequate, incompetent, hopeless or foolish,” she spouts without reservation. The sting of her words hasn’t dulled over the years.

The Disappointed
He starts every sentence with, “If only . . . If only you were a little firmer with your kids. If only you’d taken that job. If only you’d work a little harder.”

The Demanding
She has a plan for your life. Manipulation, confrontation, whatever it takes – you’re a pawn on her chessboard.

The Bad Influence
You’re not sure you want your kids around him. Were he not family, you’d shudder to meet him in a dark place.

The Instigator
He’s the master of snide remarks. He spoils your daughter but ignores your son. In his world, in-law is synonymous with outsider.

The Politically Incorrect
She says what she thinks. She’s rude to the wait staff, the store clerk and your child’s best friend. You already avoid public places with her, but you’re beginning to think you should avoid her altogether.

Please tell me your story (you can use pseudonyms), how you are dealing or have dealt with the situation and how this relative impacts those closest to you (spouse, children). If I use your story, I’ll send you a copy of my write-up before submitting it for publication, along with a copy of the book when it’s published.

Please copy your story into the body of an email and send it to Joyce Wallace. Thank you!!