How to deal with self-centred/sociopathic family member?

How does one deal with an extremely self-centered/sociopathic family member, whose actions have resulted in their estrangement from several family members? I personally manage the situation with distance (we haven’t spoken in 1.5 years), yet there is sadness present on a subtle level for the way things are now, after a closer relationship for many years. I also feel a lot of anger when I remember all the extremely self-centered things he’s carried out to hurt others in the family, mostly related to a sudden death of a key member of the family. Some people get angry when someone close dies suddenly, especially when one feels a lot of guilt around it, in relationship to so much that was left unsaid with the one who died. He is also plainly spurred on by his extremely self-centered and sociopathic wife. I know I should forgive him, not necessarily to his face, but in my own way, just to accept things as they are and stay in the love. But it’s not easy. I reflect on his conditioning, which does create understanding around the way he is, which in turn fosters empathy. After all, we can understand why people do what they do, but we don’t have to agree with it. I wonder if I will ever talk to him again. That is a sad story. I imagine I will only see him at the next family funeral, which could be many years from now. Another sad story.

3 Response(s)

It seems like there is a lot of perspective here and a willingness to allow healing to happen. On thought might be to simply offer well-wishing to the person in your own heart. I’ve tried this and been amazed at how it relieves my own contraction. Sometimes, amazingly, after bringing this to heart every time they arise in my mind, I find my whole relationship to them has changed. We live in such a mystery. There may be some way they feel it through the ether, because I’ve had several dysfunctional relationships mend after I’ve offered genuine loving kindness simply in my own heart. “May you be happy. May you heal. May you know peace and ease.” Then some day, I may just get a call from that person saying something like “I miss you. I’d like to talk…” Good luck!

Responded on January 20, 2017.

“May you be happy. May you heal. May you know peace and ease.”
Thanks, I like that and will try it. Just saying it even once while directing it to this family member creates a lightness in my heart already…

Responded on January 23, 2017.

This sounds like a situation where separation with love may be the solution.  Allowing family members to have the dignity to behave as they wish and not feel responsible for the outcome is a difficult practice.  Ending or avoiding relationships with toxic people no matter how we are related may be very painful and it may be a path to personal freedom.

Responded on February 3, 2017.