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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5824
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am 50 years old, divorced for a year and a half, and most

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I am 50 years old, divorced for a year and a half, and most of my relatives are angry with me. I moved back to Ohio, to the same town as my mother and brother a year ago. My brother never offered to help me move in, and has never invited me to his house since I have been here. I asked my brother to talk to me about his anger and he refused. I think he is angry because when my mother moved from her condo to an assisted living facility 4 years ago, he changed the locks on her condo and did not let her go back in her home without him. He also moved some of her personal belongings out without her permission. At that time, I lived 12.5 hours away. When I questioned him about his actions and asked him to give mom a key, he was very angry and refused to answer my questions.
When I was going through my divorce, both my brother and mother offered no support. My ex-husband was emotionally abusive. I had not told them any of that because I lived so far away. My brother was not interested. My mother was partially deaf, so it was hard to communicate with her. When I finally explained everything to them, they did not believe me.
Now, I just found out from a friend that my cousin, who lives in Illinois, was at a bar where he was bartending and she started spouting off about what a "b" I am. He asked her to stop talking and that they could discuss me when she was sober. The thing is, I didn't even know that she was angry with me. My 95 year old aunt lives near that cousin and I have been close to that aunt (her grandmother). I suspect there might be some jealousy, but I don't know. My other cousin, her younger brother, is also angry with me about something and sent me some scathing text messages last year when I declined an invitation to his wedding because I couldn't afford to go at the time.
I truly do not know what I have done to evoke such anger. I was talking with my aunt last night about the situation with my cousins and her comment was "you should have stayed married." With that, I started crying and told her I had to go. She knows my ex and what the relationship was like better than anyone. I couldn't believe even she would wish that on me.
Of course, ever since we have been divorced, my ex has been in constant contact with my relatives. When we were married, he didn't want anything to do with any of them. He got engaged 8 months after our divorce, even though he told everyone how much he loved me and how I had destroyed him by leaving.
I am not sure how to handle all this. I suffer with major depression and this is about to send me over the edge again. What I would like to do is send a letter to each of these relatives asking to have a conversation to discuss what is wrong. Then if they do not contact me to talk, put it behind me and consider myself an orphan.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like between your brother and your ex husband, there is a lot of angry people in your life. It could be that both of them have been talking to your other family members behind your back. That does not mean that your relatives necessarily need to believe them, but if there is a lot of dysfunction in your family, that would explain why every one is choosing to be angry at you without asking you about these things first.

It sounds like you have been very hurt by your family. And it makes sense that you have. No one is talking to you about what is going on, they are accepting your ex's opinion about you when he hurt you during the marriage, and they are making judgments without talking to you first. It is painful when your family does not back you up, especially given what your ex has done to you.

You can certainly write letters to each of them letting them know you are willing to talk with them about whatever grievance they have against you. The only catch with sending these letters is that you should be aware that your relatives could use them to become even more upset with you. When you deal with people who are dysfunctional in their behavior, they often are not able to see something like this as a good gesture. Instead they use it as an excuse for acting out even more. As long as you are aware that they might react by hurting you more, then it's perfectly fine to send the letters. You may want to practice ahead of time what you might say to them. That way, you can prevent getting caught up in any anger they might put on you.

I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.


I appreciate your feedback. I am the youngest child of an alcoholic - my mom. I am the typical "pleaser". I have been the whipping post of the family as long as I can remember. Do you think that it might be healthier for me to just walk away from all this and focus on the loving, life-long friends that I have who bring me joy and provide unconditional love?

Thanks for the additional insight.


Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.


It probably would be healthier for you to walk away, but only if you feel you have addressed any feelings you have about resolving this with your family. If you feel you have reached the end of what you can do with them, then walking away is a great option. You do not need to be hurt any more than you already have been. You may also want to consider counseling to help you process what you have been through. It sounds like it has been very difficult and painful. I'm sorry you had to deal with this.


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