|Posted on January 27, 2017 at 6:05 PM|
It's been said of family that you can't live with them and you can't live without them.
Both statements are true, depending on individual circumstances.
For instance ... I can't live without my children in my life.
They are smart, beautiful (in my eyes, at least), kind, loving, talented and socially conscious.
There are extended family members I am close to, and those I love from a distance.
There are also those I would walk through fire for.
In every family there are what I would call "difficult" people. This usually happens when
there are gaping chasms of opinion between us and little effort to understand the other's
point of view. Sometimes we can simply agree to disagree, and as a last resort - simply sever
There are flash-points in the last category that I'd like to address. Whether it's a family
member, a friend who suddenly seems like a stranger, a spouse, a child or a parent, you
never EVER have to accept abuse of any kind.
Insults, name-calling, inappropriate suggestions (I have been told to "get your
head out of your ass" when a brother objected to my political stance) are just
If you have ever had someone stay at your home (whether by invitation or because
of an emergency) and they stayed ... and ... stayed ... and ... wouldn't ... leave,
becoming angry and confrontational when you enquired as to when they were leaving
- that's abuse.
If you have a no-drugs/no-alcohol rule in your home and someone brings either of
those into your home - that's abuse.
If you ever had someone go through your drawers and cupboards (other than in the
kitchen! ) and you found items missing after they left - that's abuse.
If the only time you ever hear from someone is when they need something from you -
money, a place to crash, special favours and they never offer so much as a thank
you - that's abuse.
If you allow that to keep happening out of guilt or a sense of familial obligation,
you are teaching those family members how to treat you.
Here is a story from my own life, and every single word is true:
A brother-in-law (we'll call him Buzz) and his girlfriend (we'll call her Lil) needed
a place to stay. Beds were at a premium, but it was summertime and we had a camper
trailer parked on the car-pad right beside our back door. We provided linens, a lamp
and a heater (in case the evening got cool) and assured them the door would be
unlocked should they need the bathroom. In the middle of the night, we were wakened
by the sounds of someone screaming and being thrown around like a rag-doll. "Lil" was
beating the hell out of "Buzz". We went outside and knocked on the trailer door.
Silence. We asked if everything was alright. Yes. We went back to our beds. A short
time later, we heard the back door open and "Lil" urgently yelling that there was
something terribly wrong with "Buzz". While my husband went to attend to his brother,
I waited with "Lil" on the doorstep. She said she had to use the bathroom and before I
could turn and follow her inside, she slammed the door and locked it, with us outside
and our children inside. Because my husband had thought he might have to call 911, he
had (thankfully) grabbed his cell-phone on the way out.
He called the police. The police came. We apprised them of the situation. They apprised
us of the fact that, because we essentially "invited them in" to our home there was
nothing they could do. They left. This is good information I'm providing here!
My husband installs windows and doors professionally and after a bit of work was able
to jiggle the patio doors enough for me to squeeze through. I unlocked the back door,
knocked on the bathroom door (where "Lil" was "doing 8-balls" - I still don't know what
that is) and informed her it was time to leave. I guess the shock of our being back in
our own home was a real wake-up call, as she came out immediately and headed back to the
trailer only to find it locked up tight. As she began to head back into the house we
stated - unequivocally - that she was now leaving. "Buzz" could stay - "Lil" could not.
This upset "Buzz" and he became verbally confrontational and demanded to know where we
expected them to go. Truthfully, at that point it was all I could do not to laugh hys-
terically. We suggested that really wasn't our problem anymore, went inside and made sure
everything was locked up tight.
We had just been abused by family; we had set boundaries and refused to back down.
It never happened again ... with "Buzz" ... and that's another story!