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Abusive Relationships/My girlfriends angry family?

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Hi there. I wasn't sure which subject or person to come to on here. I hope I found my way alright. I'm really hoping you could give me some advice.

So, I'm living with my girlfriend's family. Who is just her, her 14 year old sister and her 35 year old mother. My girlfriends mom and sister has anger issues that I don't know how to handle sometimes.

My back ground consists of a very loving and supportive mother and an angry father. My father usually is very secretive about his anger and lashes out occasionally. He typically lets everyone know he's upset and then goes away for a long time and then comes back and vents about it for hours. I stay away from him most of the time and if he gets upset with me ever I try to verbally protect myself and then I just avoid him and it goes away. I don't really know how I handle angry people besides avoid them. I'm not an angry person unless I feel threatened.

Now back to my issue. I don't know how to handle these girls. I don't fight with my girlfriend really, and if we do we talk and work it out fast. Although I don't know how to handle her families anger.

Her mom only gets angry with me if she's feeling short and impatient. Sometimes I won't hear her instructions and she will harshly snap at me. She's really impatient and I don't know how to handle it. I feel small when she yells at me. How is the right way to handle someone who is so moody and impatient?

Then there is her little sister. Now I know it might sound strange for me to feel really upset over a 14 year olds anger towards me. She has a very strong personality who feels in charge of everything and feels like she needs to control everything. Like she doesn't let anyone use her things and gets very aggressive if you use it and feels free to use other peoples things without asking. I'm not really complaining I'm just kind of giving you an idea what she's like.  I just feel degraded by her. Her sister feels the same. She beats up on my girlfriend ( her older sister) and I just want to feel okay. She's so angry, and usually it's over little things and she won't tell me or anyone else what's wrong. She will just openly be rude or say mean things and orders us around.

Like, currently, she has had an issue with me since yesterday and I didn't find out until today what was wrong. I talked to her about it but she continues to think I'm not respecting her space when that's not it at all. I was trying to do something nice for her. I genuinely had her happiness in mind. And I tried to explain that but she continues to badger me. I also did apologize I just don't know what she truly wants from me or how to handle it.
I also think she might feel jealous over me and her sister. I don't know, maybe it's fueling her anger. I just don't know. I don't know how I can make the situation any better.

How do I handle them? I'm not used to dealing with highly emotional women with anger and abusive issues. What even is considered emotional and physical abuse. Some fights that go on here are seriously frightening. How do I keep myself feeling okay? How do i make peace? How can I confidently do what's right? What is the right thing to do? How would I handle a raging mother screaming at her kids and slamming doors and breaking things? How do I handle "the baby" and keep her from walking on me? I refuse to baby her like her mom does.
I bet this sounds strange. Me and my girlfriend are the calm and introverted of the family. We believe is peace love and gentleness. So it's kind of hard from me at times.

Ugh I don't know. If you have anything to say over what I said I would be extremely thankful <:)

Answer
Pennie,

You cannot fix this family. They need professional help. There is the possibility that your friend's mother's and sister's problem is exacerbated by your presence because of jealousy over your relationship with your friend.

If this is the case you might want to consider moving out, going on your own and leaving the family to sort out their problems.

What they are displaying are personality traits developed over the years. Their "attacks" might seem to be personal--against you--but they are not. These folks are lashing out because they are in pain, feeling unfulfilled--thwarted. They could attack whoever is in their midst. Their anger is within themselves, eroding their peace. They want peace but they do not know how to access it. Their outward behavior is reflective of the painful thrashing about going on inside them.

You may justifiably feel compassion towards them but you cannot stop them from behaving as they do. How can you stop someone in inner pain from feeling tortured? They can be helped, but they must want to get help. They must want help so badly they would reach out for it.

Your responsibility is to attend to your personal growth. Go after wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Recognize when a person is hitting out because they are hurting, and not because you are guilty of whatever they choose to accuse you of. Refuse to feel guilty, badly, or small, because a person in self-torture (really rejection of self) is accusing you to avoid looking at self.

Understand that angry people are people in pain. These are people who deep inside feel they are not good enough, and this they might not be even able to acknowledge. What they need is your compassion. When they accuse you and scream and yell, try not to take it personally. Of course, if you do not take the "lashing out" personally, they would not disturb your peace.

You see what is happening here--you are staying in control of your response. You are not allowing another's behavior to determine how you feel.

Develop a measure of inner strength that would make you resilient in the face of another's heavy anger. One author asked, "what would happen if even though you wished things were different, you do not upset yourself if they are not". What would happen? You would be at peace.

Avoidance is an alternative you practiced with your dad. But as you have learned, nothing is resolved when you avoid your dad. You don't have to live with your friend's family, as they are not your family, so leaving the home could be a valuable option, but your dad would always be your dad. If he would not seek help for himself, how about you seeking out a therapist for guidance.

Remember, you cannot change the other person--not even your dad, so you would be going to a therapist to help the only person you can change--you.

In getting help for yourself, who knows, you could be opening the door for your dad to get the help he needs.

Abusive Relationships

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Eugenia Springer, Ph.D.

Expertise

I can answer your questions on how to stop being a victim, and/or how to stop being an abuser. My ability to help you, however, would depend on your willingness to assume full responsibility for helping yourself.

Experience

From the 1970s to the present, my life has been a search after knowing my purpose, knowing myself, and knowing God. I talk about this search in my 2002 book, "Further Insights Into the Journey". After years of teaching biology at university, I became a radio Family Life Counselor, and a newspaper columnist, responding to callers on radio, and replying to letters from the public, in the newspapers. My book for the adolescent girl, "Girl, It's All About You"(Review & Herald Publishers 1980, and out of print) was my attempt to marry my field of training--biology, and my adoptive field--interpersonal relationships. "Further Insights Into the Journey" is about my search for personal freedom--a search for freedom from external controls; for freedom from fear. Through very instructive experiences, many sorely trying, I uncovered that freedom within me, and found myself progressively experiencing increasingly greater measures of peace. To get your copy of "Further Insights Into The Journey" email me at dreugenia.springer@live.com For a few years I hosted and produced the weekly call-in radio program, Life and Living/Soul to Soul on radio station Power102fm.

Education/Credentials
Certificate in Parenting and Family Life Counseling Certificate in Dianetics Counseling Ph.D. in Zoology (specializing in Biochemical Genetics)

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