Thursday, April 26, 2018

Learning To Walk Away from Family

We all have the family members that are in our lives by blood or marriage, but not by choice. I've had/have some doozies in mine. Still, I've been fortunate enough, or smart enough, to keep the true parasites from directly impacting my life. While I might have philosophical or even ethical differences from some siblings and sibling in laws, we have not really had to be literally or virtually restrained from each other. I've not had or have not let anyone take advantage of being family. Frustrations at times, yes, of course. I readily admit that if my kids had sinlgeton needs and needed some help once in awhile, I am more than happy to help out, help, being the operative word. I'll want to understand what will be different-what's their game plan? 

Some in my circle though are not so fortunate, and yes, I am describing a few supposed family members as parasitic. Like my niece and nephews (and her spouse) that spent down a workman's comp settlement instead of getting back on their feet, on new stuff for a lake trailer, their own homes, vacations and gifts; money that should have bridged them well into their retirement. Now, my sister will be working in a very hard job, physically and mentally, until probably past 70, with her adult kids constantly with their hands out, and her not saying no. Same story-different sister, different nephew. I can't even get started on one of my nieces husbands who stole from her inheritance for years, acting to everyone like a caring supportive man, all the while he was sponging every penny he could, leaving her in a state of poverty, homelessness, and untreated depression. We have agreed, several siblings and I out of respect and love for her parents, will as needed, pay bills on her behalf, buy groceries, clothes, bring her to social functions, but no one will ever give  a penny as we know he will figure out how to get it from her. Her own siblings though have nothing to do with her, because their princess wives don't want their kids exposed to her dysfunction, which is completely sad as so much of her excess trust of her loser husband was because of a sense of abandonement of her core family after her parents died.

Then there is the crazy relative of DH's who  has his own personal conspiracy theory playing out in his head. Some shared ownership of property has become a nightmare to everyone else. He spies with hidden cameras at the property and sends DH's 77 year old widowed mom threatening emails and complaints about wheel barrows out of place. I think he is trying to figure out how to sue the other owners of this family property, his wife's, not his, family, mind you, and take sole possession. I keep myself several moves away, but DH gets dragged in trying to support his mother. This man has ruined relationships over petty grievances made up in his own mind, and even his own wife is fed up. 

I'm saddened to read about how other bloggers write about how they or their loved ones are consistently manipulated by their own so called family. As I've been able to keep myself and my immediate family at a distance, others cannot. Some are protecting their parents from manipulative brothers and greedy sisters. Another story recently involved tremendous greed over family items, while the matriarch of the family was still using and enjoying the items! I am amazed that anyone thinks their parents owe them anything after adulthood. 

These are the times that blood is not thicker than water. These are when, protecting the vulnerable aside, a person just needs to cut that part of their relationships loose and walk away. 

10 comments:

  1. "I want to understand what will be different-what's their game plan." THIS! These words, while they may be difficult for the recipient to hear, are actually very empowering. Implicit in this question is the reality that they CAN change the patterns of behavior which brought them to ask for assistance.
    Sorry you are feeling the drain of familial drama. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but in the end, we are not obligated to remain embroiled in these types of scenes. We are not responsible for perfectly able bodies adults, even if we are related to them.

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    1. Being a step or more removed, I am not embroiled, but it is painful to see or read, even from strangers, these stories. I refuse to let other people's self created drama impact my family.

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  2. Dh and I both came from VERY toxic families and chose to walk away a long time ago out in order to lead "normal" lives and we didn't want our kids exposed to any of this. While we didn't have family around, we were lucky enough to have WONDERFUL friends who took up that aspect of their lives and I am so happy we chose this path. It is hard to just walk away when it is family, but if a situation isn't healthy or happy and can even be very dangerous, I think it is best to cut ties and move on with your life. I think the path you are taking is for the best for you family and that is really what is most important!

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    1. I'm sorry for your family situation, but finding great friends is a treasure. My life and family is not perfect, but it pains me to see the wreck in my extended family at times.

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  3. It is very hard to come from a family of dysfunction. Then to try and protect an elderly adult that does not want protection. I just eliminate the ones that are hard on me. I still love them but not enough to spend time with them. I don't have to and you don't have to. I help when I can from a distance.

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    1. You've got a hard situation, but are coping better than I bet you realize.

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  4. I agree with you absolutely. I suppose because you have such a large family there is more drama - it is the nature of the beast. I have heard some shocking stories of one sibling being mommy's little darling and draining the parents dry. One of my colleagues has a sister like this - too good to work but wants everything handed to her on a plate (unlike my colleague). Her name is Tanya but I always thought her name was "Poor" because her parents always referred to her as "Poor Tanya"!

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    1. Oh gosh-that is a mess of a family. My kids mean the world to me, but if they need to live with room mates, work multiple jobs to make ends meet, so be it. And,my adult children have done those things, and are the stronger for it, just like DH and I did. Help is there when needed, and would never be denied, and I'm sure that gives them strength-knowing, but needing someone to have your back.

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  5. I would describe 3 of Hubs 4 relations as parasitic(only his oldest brother is not....so far, but he is very strange any way. lol).
    You do what you have to, to protect your own kids. Having their backs is not the same as coddling them to the point they can't function as adults. I've seen what that can do with my sister in-laws situation.....her daughter is 35+ years old and won't/can't hold a job. My sister in-law will be supporting that daughter until she drops dead.

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  6. We are very fortunate and don't have any immediate family members who are difficult. Fortunately my sister and I are on the same page about Mom's needs. TheHub's parents are both deceased and all of that was closed years ago. There were a couple of raw bits when the estate was settled but everyone acted like a grown up, put any hurt feeling aside and moved on. I was glad I was an in-law and didn't have the need (or right) to weigh in on anything.

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