How to communicate with family…


Standing on the couch

Verbal communication is hard. I’m much better in the written form, which is why I blog instead of submitting videos to Youtbue, I suppose. But I have found that communication with family is especially hard, and only lately have I been struggling to manage it all (probably due to lack of sleep and a helping dose of ‘not-giving-a-damn-the-older-I-get’). Like, my parents have been over eager and insecure in their dealings with Potamus. They make strange statements like, “oh, I’m so glad he remembers us,” (he’s 15 months, who cares if he doesn’t remember you), and the over-repetitive phrase of “such a handsome doood (how my dad pronounces dude).” It’s annoying.

But then so are my in-laws.

Like the constant saying of “no,” by my sister-in-law to Potamus who is in an exploratory phase (see 15 month old comment above). It’s one thing to say “no” and re-direct when he’s trying to grab the butane torch for the fireplace. Telling him “no” repeatedly that he shouldn’t bang his plastic maraca on the table is a bit overdramatic and overbearing to be perfectly honest. But I don’t know what to do. It’s not MY sister, it’s Boof’s. And he doesn’t seem to be as perturbed by it as me.

I just don’t want to have him hear NO all the time. While no is going to be used, I want it to be reserved for dangerous things, and not just used mindlessly. A re-direction is more appropriate. Or an explanation. And saying things like “gentle,” with no context for him to understand what it means. But I’m too deep in the emotion grating across my skull that I can’t rationally say anything because if I open my mouth it is going to be a SCREAM at them. So I bottle it in and don’t say anything and that just makes it worse.

Ugh.

Then, on Friday I was hanging out with Uncle Silly (my adoptive brother) and we got to talking about our sister, and communication within our family and some hurt feelings over her boyfriend not visiting with us, but having the time/energy to drive 3 hours to visit her birth family in Oregon. And I talked about how I try to navigate reunion with our parents and he talked about how he tries to navigate it with them, too. And then, I learn, that my parents were hurt that I invited my birthfamily to my Master’s celebration. I’m glad to know, but also glad that they didn’t tell me themselves at the time because I would have been pissed. The jealousy and insecurity named above is the bedrock of my adoptive family’s communication style and it’s just annoying that I have to deal with it in so many arenas.

If they weren’t helpful to me, I would just take a break from all sorts of things family related and do my own thing. Friendships are much easier to navigate, because I can just tell my friends what I feel without worry. Not sure why I can’t do the same for my families.

Suggestions? How do you deal with overbearing or overanxious or jealous family members? How do you communicate about your parenting styles when it comes to things like discipline.

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