i know i usually do a “dear sharideth” on mondays, but it’s my bloggy and i’ll write what i want to. besides this is sort of a dear sharideth, only without the actual dear sharideth part.
that totally made sense in my head. shut up.
it’s an issue that comes up a lot in conversations and is completely off topic when it comes to romantic relationships, unless you live Appalachia or were the inspiration for Deliverance.
we love them. we loathe them. we hate it when they take our clothes. but what happens when you’ve got one who’s a real piece of work and impossible to deal with?
seriously. what do you do? i’m clueless.
ha! gotcha! JK! i totally know what to do.
and just so we’re clear, i’m not talking about standard sibling stuff. kids do stupid to each other every day. it’s only happened a few times, but every time i’ve heard my daughter yell, “MOM, CARTER HIT ME!” i ask her what she did to provoke him and it always ends up being something way worse than the shot she took to the arm. siblings fight. close cousins fight. but at the end of the day, they would take a bullet for each other.
but sometimes…it’s way more than the petty crap.
how out of control your blood relation is will determine if that boundary has to be a toll booth or the Berlin Wall. i’m talking abuse, addict, hostile drama and constant chaos. the types of things that actually do harm.
a friend of mine wrote to me on Facebook about her sister who has always been convinced she got shorted in the attention department and now as an adult rages and causes drama because she’s demanding the attention she swears she never got. total victim turned selfish monster. only she was never really a victim and she’s just given herself permission to act like an asshat if she feels like it.
my friend handled being “disowned” every time she did something her sister didn’t like with a shoulder shrug and an eye roll for years. until her sister showed up at her door last week and called her a “heartless bitch” and a “lying c$%+” in front of my friend’s children.
p.s. my friend is neither of those things otherwise she wouldn’t be my friend, duh.
anyway, not cool, sistergirl, not cool. but what’s to be done when the person making your life a misery shares most of your DNA?
cut her off.
you heard me. and don’t worry, i’m going to tell you how.
1. no guilt. – but sharideth! this is family! oh i know. and nobody is better at inflicting guilt than those you could possibly swap kidneys with, save one. yourself. if you can get past the guilt you will put on yourself, the family will be cake. you will have to remember that your choice to throw up a barrier between you and anyone who does damage is never cause for guilt. it is healthy. it is necessary. and the one making the healthy/necessary choices is never the one who should shoulder the blame for that.
2. no compromise. – once the boundaries have been set, anyone who dares cross, will be shot on sight. that’s the only way this works. once you define the terms of the relationship, you must stick to it or it’s all for nothing. people who will cause you harm/pain/drama/chaos will behave themselves long enough for you to drop your guard, then they go in even harder. i told my friend that her first course of action is to tell her sister she is no longer allowed to come over uninvited. period. ever. second, her sister needs to know, in no uncertain terms, that if she ever behaves that way in front of my friend’s children again, she will not be allowed to see them. define the boundaries and stick to it.
3. no grudges. – understand that you can stand your ground and be uncompromising without being angry or holding a grudge. this is your family, no matter how crazy making. you can forgive and be pleasant, but that doesn’t mean you have to cave. believe it or not, maintaining boundaries without holding a grudge feels pretty amazing. totally freeing.
4. no hostility. – do not retaliate. refuse to be part of the problem. if you have to drop a couple hundred bucks at Bass Pro on climbing gear to claw your way to that high road, do it. whatever it takes, do not add to the chaos. be above it. add as many more cliches as you need to be the one where the drama ends.
just because you’re blood related, that does not mean you have tolerate whatever nonsense your family wants to throw at you. be better than that. once you establish what you are willing to accept and what you are not, breathe. take in the free air, my friend.
ever had a sibling or a family member you had to cut off or keep at arm’s length? what did you do to build your Berlin Wall?
what else can you do to maintain a healthy barrier?