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Pushing Family Buttons

20051126_JJCK_superyou-buttons.jpgWho knows better how to push our buttons than family members? Family members encompass our family of origin and our spouse’ extended family. I just recalled Cathy’s blog entry, Portrait of Marriage which talked about LEAVING – leaving your parents physically, emotionally, financially, is crucial to every marriage. This doesn’t mean not wanting to associate with parents. Families that stay together are an incredible blessing. One needs a good balance between having a healthy relationship with parents, family and friends, but not letting those relationships interfere with your personal relationship with each other.

A family member really pushed my buttons the past months because I refused to get sucked in to their manipulative control. Worse, I found out another family member blames me solely for the death of my son. True, I feel the guilt but to be blamed blatantly is just so irritating. This latest blow left me in an emotional tailspin for a few hours. An honest discussion with my husband over this family member helped a lot because he gave me total support and love. I used to hide my feelings from my husband just to preserve family peace but what about my peace of mind? The “new me” is more assertive and communicative with my feelings. I know that I shouldn’t give these family member the power to annoy me. I know I cannot control what they do or try to do but I can gain some sense of control on how I choose to react.

Their behavioral patterns with me are their issues. How I react or allow these patterns to influence me is my issue. How I take care of myself is my issue. I can love my family and still refuse to buy into their issues. I can love my family but refuse their efforts to manipulate, control or produce guilt in me. I can learn to be assertive with family members without being aggressive. I can set the boundaries I need with family members without being disloyal to the family.

I can learn to love my family without forfeiting love and respect for myself.

4 thoughts on “Pushing Family Buttons”

  1. Ms. Noemi, I’m proud of you. In my case, until now, I haven’t still have the courage of discussing feelings with anybody, even my boyfriend and family. This still drives me crazy and even concludes sometimes to blame myself. I have yet still to learn that.

    And as for family members, with me, I have learned to distance myself from them as I refuse also to “give in” to be bossed around. Perhaps they do mean well but still, I am capable of thinking for myself. Come to think of it, I am avoiding that issue too. I guess this is a sign. Thanks to this entry.

  2. Abbie: it takes practice to put boundaries , to set limits to say NO or to be assertive. We grew up in a culture to respect elders but our elders come from the old school of thinking . So it’s difficult.

  3. when my husband and i ventured abroad, it was the 1st time he became independent of his parents. he worked for them, we lived in an apartment that they owned. though we seemed comfortable, it was an illusion because my in-laws had a way of making singil thorugh criticism, manipulation and inflicting guilt when we did not want to surrender our parenting and lives to them (!)

    here, away from them, i saw my husband blossom, slowly gaining self-confidence, and he is supporting our family most directly. even if we are tight, i have never respected him more. now, we are free to be ourselves, are parenting more effectively, and most of all, reclaiming our true selves as adults.

    oh, and guess what? my in-laws take it against me for taking their son so far away from them. and you are right, it’s really their problem now. . . (yipee!)

    take care of your boundaries and keep blogging!

  4. continued…

    Many of the US-born residents couldn’t pronounce my name. (Excuse me, I’m typing on the bed here in our Mr. Prospect, Illinois condo — so I keep inadvertently pressing “submit”)

    So, I opted to use my married name.

    During the 3rd Global Filipino Networking Convention in Cebu last January 2005, our family name took a place of honor when Loida Nicolas Lewis and President Macapagal Arroyo used my full name in acknowledging my work in coordinating this international convention in Cebu. At the Ayala Lagoon one night, President Arroyo thanked me — but she used my maiden name, Lorna Lardizabal.

    That was music to my ears. It was the 25th anniversary of the Sinulog Festival — and hearing my maiden name instead of my married name signified that my father’s unsung contributions had just been honored that night amidst fireworks and a global celebration.

    The three months that I stayed in the Philippines that 2004-2005 also led to another decision: On January 11, 2007, I decided to reacquire my Filipino citizenship.

    Being a dual citizen makes me feel “whole.” I don’t have to be just an American anymore. I am a Filipina — and I am proud.

    Your loving sister,


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