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Fortress of survival part 3

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Some of us endure family division. It could be said that some also, due to living with extreme thinking and behaviour, are more likely to disown family and friends than those without a mental illness. This post is not to delve into the justification of same but to cover the survival aspect of our decision making or if disowning was the decision of other upon you.

When a young adult I saw the possible division of family as really traumatic. How could I survive without my niece that joined a religious cult? or my mother due to her narcissism?, or my school friend that judged my depression as an act of God? As I aged I slowly realised that family isnt who you share blood, otherwise we'd be stuck with them forever regardless of toxicity. Family is whom you choose and that has one big advantage- compatibility.

Christmas seem to highlight these issues. What I find amusing (sorry) is how xmas after xmas some people endure the same arguments with the same relatives ...all because they are "family" and for the whole year in between they fume/dwell over the same negativity and plan what they'll say next xmas in combat. Why?

Well some of us move on from all of that and find loving people to enjoy our time. This is one wall of the fortress of survival because we will find our company is more enjoyable by keeping out the tension and keeping in the loving caring ones. That balance is important for harmony and that is important for our mental health.

Full rejection of family and friends that dont comply with this harmony isnt the only answer. If you can you should try to maintain a half way friendship- see them as acquaintances which could mean a "hello/ goodbye have a happy new year". Some of these people might be thinking the same and is quite content to keep it at that especially if the end result is enough to please the older members of a family longing for the whole family to be united. But remember, while you can attempt this if it doesnt work and there is conflict then it isnt your fault to remain absent from such gatherings. It is a right.

Fortress of survival the original thread dealt with how, due to upbringing, we dont develop a screening of people and therefore allow anyone to enter our lives only to get hurt. Fortress of survival part 2 dealt with implementing filters to allow some to enter the gates of your life. Here in part 3 I'm suggesting to edge out family and friends that are not compatible and not endure their wrath at gatherings.


10 Replies 10

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
Thanks Tony.

You're right this is the hardest time of year coping with family conflict.

Just the thread I needed to read today. I'm looking forward to reading more.

❤️ Nat

Hello lovely Nat.

Well I hope you strive for a good xmas and remain positive and decisive.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi white knight,

What you write is so relevant, I too forget about the people struggling during the Christmas period.

Thank you so much for champion such an important cause, especially in these time where COVID can overshadow.



Family is extremely important to me. We came to Aus when I was young and I desperately missed my extended family & found Christmas flat without grandparents cousins etc. As I grew up I went out of my way to stay close to family members to ensure my kids had the benefit of extended family. The result is my kids all get on with cousins etc.

Problem I have one DIL who is difficult. During lockdown we couldn't see her or her husband (my son) & grandkids as they lived out of metro Melbourne. Last weekend we visited for my grandson's birthday. Result was a screaming match with yelling at me & her parents. Her parents had stuck up for my son when she had started screaming at him and blaming him for things that were her fault. They are living with her parents so they are seeing what she is doing and she is making life difficult for her parents as well as my son and my grandkids. Her parents spoke to me because they were so concerned about the situation but she overheard & then yelled at us all including acusing me of lots of things which are untrue.

I am now dreading Christmas because she will be there. I can't avoid going because I want to see the rest of my family. Seeing me close to the rest of the family just triggers her belief that I'm the world's worst MIL & is causing me extreme stress just thinking of it.

Hi Elizabeth,

It's a tough gig trying to get along with an imlaw that is explosive like that. I feel for your son the meat in the sandwich.

Short answer is, there's often no answer because you'd miss out on your son and grandchild.

A Xmas card saying "lets have a merry Xmas together", might make a difference or a direct phone call asking her how their child is going then mention you hope she is ok since that incident, remain calm and do lots of listening.

Fingers crossed

It is interesting the after-effects of edging out family

Sometimes with distance you can see things a lot clearer. When you are emeshed in a family abusive/cruel behaviour can become normal and tolerable. After a year of distancing myself I can see clearly.

Hi Guest _1643


You hit the nail on the head. You have successfully created distance and it seems you have found a happy place.


I am currently battle with the reality that a close relative and I have conflict and it has changed the Christmas dinner. In brief this relative has shown NPD and possible BPD symptoms in her treatment of others. I'm devastated and it is likely our relationship is terminal. My family has a long history of such behaviour and it's unbearable.


Onward and upward, we will have a good xmas.




Community Member

Hit there Tony and thank you v much for this thread and your v hard earned experience in the things you've talked about here and other places around BB. l thought l saw a 4 recently but looked high low with no luck so l'll use this one.


lt's not so much a Christmas thing l'd only called this sister to find out at who's place xmas day was gonna be this yr.  l called her bc last we spoke she went of the handle but had so many things wrong the assumptions were mind blowing. Anyway we sort of straitened that out saw her a few mths later and she was really good- we generally get along pretty good but she's always has some crazy thinking and is a very good bs'er, which everyone knows. Turns out last 3 -4yrs though she's been losing it and going off at everyone and putting out some really wild crap too- AND about me too as l've just found out.

My other sister told me she'd sent her some huge violent just last wk, she had no idea why but the language really scared her. She's been talking behind everyone's back man, ldk l live 3hrs away and mainly only see two brothers and a sister.

Anyway this call didn't go well and she started 5mins. l mean she's 50s but she was going back to childhood l was this l did that, marriage parenting it was just mad, throwing rubbish in my face completely wrong. Mind you, she's had 2marriages and drinks like a fish too these days l found out later. l thought she must've heard stories or something though so l persisted trying straighten them out but she's just getting louder and worse,literally abusing my efforts, it was mind bending stuff and in the end l hung up


lt's all had me upset since, 4days now and l'm still upset from the last call 2yrs ago. l sent her a text giving her a piece of my mind and that l'm cutting her off and we will not be talking again. l didn't want it to come to that but what you've talked about here is exactly how it has become with her.