Going back to school and family drama - need advice

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by ArtisticFan, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. ArtisticFan

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Messages:
    2,412
    Upon finishing my MA in English and teacher certification courses this past year, I collected information about doctoral programs in my area. I wasn't all that serious, but the idea has always intrigued me. So while applying for jobs in January and February, I dashed off a few applications and just sat back. All was forgotten as soon as I took a new job in April.

    That was until yesterday. I received a letter in the mail that I have been accepted into a program near my home. Most of the courses can be taken online and they even have part-time options. My husband is very supportive and has voiced his desire that I pursue this option. I was all excited about it and made a post of my facebook page that I had decided to do it.

    I didn't realize what a mistake that was with my family and friends on Facebook. All afternoon and evening I have been receiving e-mails and texts that I am being selfish. They tell me that I should be thinking about having a baby with my husband and providing my parents with grandchildren. Nevermind that we don't want kids and I couldn't have them anyway. I deleted the post on Facebook, thinking that would solve the problem. Oh no, it hasn't.

    I turned to my one cousin I thought I could trust. She always seemed level headed. Her response...I must be looking for validation (my word, not hers) by posting that. She said that our aunts, uncles, and cousins were too busy with their own lives to worry about what stupid thing I decided to do with my life next.

    No, I don't think that I'm supposed to be the center of attention. However, I did want to share the news that I was accepted with my family and friends. I never thought they would react the way they have at this point. My friends seem horrified that I come from a family like this. I'm embarrassed that they are showing out like this and deflated over their reactions.

    While I can get through this, I'm questioning my role in my family at this point. My parents see no problem with the way their siblings and others treat me. This isn't the first time that I've been called selfish over the no child thing. I am starting to think that the best solution is for me to break off ties with these family members. I love my parents deeply, but I cannot keep going to family reunions, holiday parties, birthday celebrations, etc. when I know these people dislike me as much as they seem to right now.

    What do you think? Am I overreacting? Have any of you been able to cut ties with family?
    Anemone, LynnW, millyskate and 5 others like this.
  2. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Messages:
    8,604
    I think that it is incredibly selfish to bring a child into the world when it isn't really wanted. Your birthing plan is between you and your husband. Period. Be like the rest of us FSUers are tell them to piss off. I dare you to post 'Piss off' as your facebook status. And congratulations on getting in to the PhD program!
  3. Really

    Really No longer just a "well-known member" Yay!

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2001
    Messages:
    29,434
    Your family has a bunch of meatheads. If your husband is supportive of your plans, the rest of your family should just shut their yaps. I don't blame you for being upset! Visit with those you respect and who support you, and ignore the others. It is true, you know...you can pick your friends....

    Good luck!
  4. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    18,017
    Wow that is really surprising because it sounds like it was just something really harmless you posted and great news - good on you. And obviously your husband was very supportive over it which is great. But to then turn it into "how selfish" or "what about kids?" attacks is really not on. I don't think you are overreacting at all and if people did the same to me I would be really p*ssed off too.

    If your family members behave like that, then I would really think about how much would it mean to not have them in your lives. Sounds like there are other issues but this is compounding it. But when it comes down to it, it is none of their business what you do. Maybe you should post something on Facebook about how much this has hurt you and that you deciding not to have children has nothing to do with them.

    I have cut ties with a sister who used to treat me like a piece of sh*t. Would speak to me in a manner that was not acceptable until the day I reacted back and stood up for myself. I still see her at family gatherings and we are very civil. But that is it. I have been hurt too much by her to want to enable her to behave like that again.
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  5. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    12,791
    ArtisticFan, congratulations on getting into a PhD program, and finding work! :cheer2:

    As to the drama, do your family and friends know you are unable to have children? If so, it's extra selfish of them to harass you, but even if they don't, I'm with Jayar, tell them to piss off (though, I'd not use those exact words ;)). You are not obligated to have children, not to anyone. It's them being selfish, not you.

    I would not cut yourself off from your family over this, because it's so hard to undo on either side, but I would choose carefully how, when, for what amount of time, and in what circumstances you interact with them. I also think it is possible to change who you interact with.

    My family are estranged from one of my sisters, and I can tell you, it breaks all of our hearts, despite my parents pretending they don't care. Your family is your family, warts and all. The very limited contact any of us have with my sister and her family is not cherished as it should be, it is instead used as an opportunity for us again to dwell on the whole issue. It's incredibly hard to undo, and I don't believe it is something to either take lightly, or deal with or "get over".
  6. bobalina77

    bobalina77 Duck Hunter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Messages:
    7,061
    Holy.. I can't imagine my family reacting like that! I'm with Jayar.. tell them to go pee up a rope!

    Congrats btw :)
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  7. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Messages:
    23,897
    Whatever you decide to do, I wouldn't use Facebook as the medium for accomplishing it.

    Setting boundaries and appropriate expectations of how much support you can realistically expect from each family member may be helpful in negotiating family dynamics.
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  8. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2001
    Messages:
    9,694
    Don't cut ties, but be polite and distant. :D

    Keep in touch with the ones you want to, and the others, well no. Someone I worked with years ago, gave me 2 pieces of witticisms

    1. It's a great life if you don't weaken

    2. For those who get on your last nerve, smile at them and say f*** you under your breath. Makes you feel better, and they're wondering what you're smiling about.

    Congrats, your husband supports you, so live your life and ignore the others.
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  9. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Messages:
    30,181
    WTH. I'm sorry that your family is so selfish and arrogant.

    Your family is definitely earning the horror.

    You're not overreacting. They are being assholes. Your future is up to you and your husband.

    Only you can decide whether you want to continue interacting with these people, but at the very least you should feel no guilt about deleting them from your Facebook friend list.

    And congratulations on getting into the PhD program! :cheer2: I hope it is everything you are looking for :)
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  10. Eden

    Eden Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    7,171
    What PatC (and many others) have said, and Good Luck! :)
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  11. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,513
    Pity you can't apply for new 'family and friends' online.

    Congratulations on your course.
  12. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2001
    Messages:
    38,308
    Congratulations, ArtisticFan. :cheer2:
  13. ArtisticFan

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Messages:
    2,412
    Thank you all. I am still in shock at the reactions and comments from my relatives, but I know that I cannot put my self worth in their hands. This isn't the first time that I have felt like an outsider with my extended family. The comments and even rude behavior have been building for years.

    These are people who have attended events at my house and thanked my parents for inviting them without ever saying a word to me. When I have offered to watch or take care of my cousins' children when there have been deaths in the family or other events, I have been told that am not qualified to take care of children, as I have none of my own. My mother and I share the same birthday. These people will call and interrupt our yearly birthday dinner to say happy birthday to her. They never even mention me.

    I suppose that I had hoped that a venue like Facebook would be something that would allow us to communicate without the awkwardness that has become our yearly get togethers. I was wrong, which means I will be doing some spring cleaning of the friends list.

    I need to remind myself that I cannot control their comments. All I can do is control my reaction.

    Again, I thank you all for your comments and advice.
    Matryeshka, Allen, shan and 3 others like this.
  14. skateycat

    skateycat Minecraft Widow

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Messages:
    1,717
    Congratulations on getting into a PhD program!!!

    I am sorry that your family are being clods.
  15. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    4,198
    This... I'm in a similar situation and have found that as much as I'd like to eliminate some family members being polite but not too social has been the best. There's certain things that my family members and I can't talk about. There's certain times when I know I won't be able to converse without losing it so I don't bother. It's more peaceful that way. I hope that eventually we can discuss some of the issues but for the time being it isn't going to happen.

    Congrats on getting in to the PhD program!
  16. Finnice

    Finnice Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    4,993
    ArtisticFan, congratulations for the PhD program!
    It only your and your husband´s decision to have or not to have children, nobody else´s. You are not the one who is selfish here.
  17. skipaway

    skipaway Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Messages:
    7,542
    Congrats on getting into a PhD program! I'm with everyone else, live for yourself and your husband...not your "family". Good luck.
  18. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    6,049
    Congrats. I, too, come from a family that has it's share of insensitive, boorish clods. There are quite a few cousins, but only my family and one aunt's stressed education. My mother and that aunt were considered "uppity" and any achievements of their children "a waste of time and money." Well, 30 years later, the uppity ones are still in pretty good shape - 4 of 5 still married to their original spouses, 5 of 5 in decent, but not spectacular, financial shape. As for the other cousins, most are on their third marriages and most living paycheck to paycheck. I guess "uppity" has it's advantages.
  19. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,574
    I would just tell them all to mind their own g-d business, in very loud and firm tones. It's your life, no one else's.
    genevieve and (deleted member) like this.
  20. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Messages:
    9,021
    Well done on getting into the program :cheer:
    It's great that your husband is supportive :)

    I also get in trouble with my family for my facebook posts, sometimes completely banal ones. I posted somewhere I was fed up waiting for the postman.... I got a massive rant from my mum claiming I was informing the world of my lazyness, I should be at work and not waiting for the postman, and I shouldn't share such details of my private life.

    Some people are simply not comfortable with the internet culture of sharing your feelings in public. My parents are very, very uncomfortable that I tell the world about my life, especially when it comes to good news. Hugs to you, don't let them drag you down!
  21. MOIJTO

    MOIJTO Banned Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,173
    Its so hard to grow up, let go and be your own person. In my 30's I did things out of guilt and what I thought was obligation to my parent.

    In my 40's I had no choice to the burden of obligations since my parent became disabled.

    In my 50's I wonder what I was thinking in my 30's, and accepted what I must do in my 40's. ;)


    Live your life in YOUR direction, be polite to those who disagree and end relationships that you must. Your parents want to be grandparents its natural and sadly no matter how you explain it they won't understand...so move on!
  22. CynicElle

    CynicElle Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2001
    Messages:
    2,174
    I still like this idea. I know it's probably not feasible, but :lol:. At the very least, kick them the hell off your Facebook page.

    And congratulations on getting into the program.
  23. HisWeirness

    HisWeirness Yay, new board!

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
    Messages:
    11,606
    You can put all of these family members into a group on Facebook and then keep them from seeing your updates, or block them individually. Here is a video on how to do this.

    Also, when you post a comment, there is usually a little drop down menu with a lock (appears next to the "Share" button) that allows you to control who sees that particular post. This is helpful when you want to keep certain folks :sekret: from seeing your posts but you don't want to de-friend them and have them know about it.

    (((ArtisticFan))) and good luck!
  24. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,742
    Applauding both of these thoughts!
  25. silverstars

    silverstars New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,117
    Your family and friends aren't the ones who would 1) be putting the effort into the degree or 2) caring for the child that they seem to want you to have. Your family members are the ones who are "selfish" if they seem to think that it's within their rights to tell you when and if you should have children. No one has an "obligation" to have children, but you do have an obligation to yourself and your husband to make your lives as happy and fulfilling for yourselves as possible.

    I don't think that you're overreacting either, but I also don't suggest completely and totally cutting off your family. That's what that my mother did with her siblings, and I think that it's something that she's come to regret, even though their relationship was strained. However, I would make it clear that you think that they are being out of line, and I definitely think that you're justified in creating some serious distance between you and them. I'm also a believer in the idea that friends are the family that you chose, and it sounds like you have a group who have their heads on straight. If you're going to be treated badly when you go to family events, don't go and spend that time with friends who you actually like being with and who support you.

    On another note, congrats on the PhD program! That's an amazing accomplishment, and it's sad that your family cannot see how proud they should be to be related to someone so intelligent.
  26. ilovepaydays

    ilovepaydays Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,040
    Congrats on getting into the program. :cheer:

    If your husband (who seems awesome :) ) is supportive and is agreement with you about having children, who else's opinion would be more important than his?

    Seriously, people need to mind their own business. I believe that the decision to have children (or how many, while we are at it) should stay between the married couple. After all, they are who will be raising and supporting the child.

    At least you know who to delete off your Facebook friend list if you want to.
  27. Christina

    Christina Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    Messages:
    844
    I'll agree with what others have said ^^

    Remember, you have relatives, and then you have "family." They don't need to be the same people. I've got a lot of relatives, but only a few that I consider "family."
  28. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    Messages:
    5,954
    ArtisticFan -- congratulations on getting into the PhD program. And sympathy for the boorish comments some of your family made.

    We didn't have a child for quite a while after we married, though we wanted one sooner, and the comments and prods we got from family members were also painful. It has taught me not to ask couples what their plans are, and I wish others would follow that same approach.
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  29. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,838
    WOW. I dont even know what to say. I can tell you that i am over 100% sure if I posted that on facebook I would have nothing but support, and I am 33 married and have no children yet. As for the self validation thing...I don't think it seems like that at all. Sounds like people are jealous. Please do what is right for you. I am actually almost upset by your post becuase I cannot believe those people are so selfish.

    I would keep posting facebook updates LOL and when someone writes something like that just write back "oh thanks for the input but I was not looking for advice or opinions...just sharing something that I thought was exciting" and then DELETE them all. muhahahahha.
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  30. Allskate

    Allskate Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2002
    Messages:
    8,167
    Congrats on the Ph.D. program and condolences on having family members that are jerks.

    I long ago learned to tune out family members who disapproved of my career plans and decision not to have children. I also cut a very cruel and toxic family member out of my life and never regretted it. But, for the most part, I think annoying or obnoxious family members are just a part of life. :lol:
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  31. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    25,021
    It's very likely that these people responded the way they did because they're unsure or dissatisfied with their own lives. They may have their own economic insecurities and want to diminish what you've accomplished with your job and getting accepted into a PhD program.

    However, none of that excuses their behavior or their comments to you. When you share good news, it's reasonable to expect that your family and friends will be happy for you and support your efforts. It's possible they thought they were being helpful, even though you didn't ask for their advice. I wouldn't completely cut them out, but I'd limit the personal details I share with them.

    Congrats!
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  32. Norlite

    Norlite New Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2003
    Messages:
    12,996

    Truer words were never spoken. I'm never sure why more people don't seem to understand this.



    Congrats on your program acceptance!
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  33. shan

    shan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Messages:
    16,741
    :cheer2: Congrats on the PhD program!!!
  34. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Messages:
    19,422
    Congrats on being accepted into the PhD program :respec:

    Anti-:respec: to the family from which you came, which is acting like a cult.

    :cheer2: that your husband, the family that you chose and created, has your back.
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  35. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    12,772
    Congratulations from me as well Artistic Fan.

    Don't let your family's bad behaviour ruin the pride and pleasure you take in your accomplishment.

    It is your family, not you, who is being selfish.
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  36. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    Messages:
    5,765
    ITA with this in a sense though I don't think it is necessarily because they are dissatisfied but just want to affirm their own choices.

    Right after college, friends made all kinds of assumptions about me that led to some rude comments that I wanted to be a selfish career woman and didn't want kids. It wasn't true, and I have no idea where they got that from, except that I did have a career. But really what I found was that their comments were really about reassuring themselves about THEIR OWN choices. 80% of the stuff people say has nothing to do with the object of the comments and all to do with people's own mind games with themselves.
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  37. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2002
    Messages:
    8,814
    Congrats on the PhD!

    As for those who want grandchildren - offer them to have more children and ask those other children to give them grandchildren (yes, having this issue with my mother. Always tell her to ask her other daughter to have children. Oh, she doesn't have another daughter? well, tough)
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  38. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,763
    I was just accepted into a Master's Program. When I posted on Facebook, most friends were incredibly supportive. However, a few with kids had to post a diatribe about how I can do this because I don't have kids and they can't do any such thing because they do have kids and one even went so far as to say that I am "lucky I have no idea what sacrifice is" since I don't have kids. That woman has two kids in school and her facebook page seems to indicate that she sleeps until 9 every morning while her husband takes them to school then plays Farmville all day. So I guess what's stopping her from pursuing more education is that no one offers a degree in Farmville.

    My take on these people: they are jealous that you have the freedom and the GUTS to go back to school. And the second one is a bigger deal than the first. I'll be working two jobs while doing my degree and raiding my retirement fund to pay for it--and making less money than I did before, plenty of sacrifice. These people probably have the means to do it if they wanted to, they just don't have the courage to take the leap and do it.

    So my advice is...laugh at them. They are pathetic!
    ArtisticFan and (deleted member) like this.
  39. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Messages:
    19,422
    This must be the corollary to what I heard for the first time in a class at the Justice Institute of British Columbia earlier in the week in the context of unmet needs/interests: when people are yelling, they're not yelling at you, they're yelling for themselves.
  40. slicekw

    slicekw Poster of Pet Vines

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2003
    Messages:
    7,826
    ArtisticFan
    Congrats on getting into the program and having a supportive husband urging you to attend!
    The family brouhaha will subside, especially if you concentrate on your home life with your husband. That life says to attend school, from what you have told us. Go! Try! You do not want to be plagued by "whatif"s when you are older. And good luck. :cheer2: