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Jul 1, 2015

Perspective

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I have been struggling with trying to let go of a toxic situation.
Normally, if a "friend" or workplace becomes toxic, it has been relatively easy for me to wash my hands of the situation and make out for the better.
But this situation deals with my immediate family.
It's a thorn in my side that has been a part of my life for ten years. And I just realized it has been ten years because all of the anxiety and trouble that this family member started causing was set off right when Mark and I started dating.

My brother is struggling with a life of addiction and my father, without hesitation, has been encouraging it. It's this insane cycle because my father only wants to help him and keep him from harm, but in doing so, my brother isn't learning right from wrong....isn't learning about the REAL WORLD.
So round and round they go.

Over the years we have stepped in during cries for help.
Help us we need to bail your brother out of jail.
Help, I need someone to drive, I can't think straight.
Help. Stay around. I promise I am done with drugs.
This is it. I am finally getting clean.

We did our due diligence. When we got the frantic call that he was arrested or busted with this drug or that situation, we were always the ones to drive to the police station in the middle of the night to straighten things out.
We have always been the voice of reason, as a sort of unbiased opinion, when immediate family members seemed to be too caught up in the drama of a situation.
We always kept a straight face when people were screaming at us, or crying, or lashing out.
We were always that rock in the face of any hardship.

But it has been going on for ten years.
Ten. Years.
Ten years of our lives dealing with a bad seed.
A bad seed that won't listen to anyone or get a real job.
A bad seed that won't truly apply themselves to anything and in turn, drags down those around him.
A bad seed that has manipulated my own father into believing his lies.
A bad seed that is slowly tearing my family apart.
A bad seed that takes our advances of help and assistance and retaliates with demeaning words and vile language.

I have been so angry because it just doesn't have to be this way.
We have watched loved ones die, or battle cancer at far too young an age, or watch their home drown in Katrina, and yet, we are constantly caught up this petty bullshit.
It really is bullshit.

I get so angry because after all we have done for my brother, I have never ONCE received an actual thank you for anything. Actually, the last phrase I did get from him was that my job was bullshit and all I think about is money.
The only time Mark gets phone calls from my dad is because he needs help with some of my brothers nonsense. Instead of letting him pony up to his own faults, he does whatever he can to make it easy for him.
I am the only one in the family who plans family gatherings. I do all the heavy lifting. Plan, cook, prep, clean, buy, etc. And thank God my mom is keeping it together. I don't know how she deals with those two.

I have resolved that Mark and I need to remove ourselves from the situation.
Completely.
I have been trying to drag my dad back to reality but there is no hope.
The two of them are like two peas in a depressed pod and it sucks the life out of any happy situation.

Father's Day was rough. It was also my mom's birthday and since my parents have my brother shacking up with them because he can't afford anything, I thought it would be nice to see a movie and hang out around the pool and grill afterward. I took care of everything because I wanted to. It's what I do.
My brother wouldn't dare lift a finger to plan anything. And what little tasks I have doled out to him are always met with some juvenile response. So I guess I just find it easier to handle everything on my own.

Mark left for the day to be with his family and by the time he got home that evening, I was spent.
Sure, it was okay. If by okay, you mean my dad staring off into space like a zombie and my brother complaining that my house was depressing and boring.
I tried to keep the small talk light and hang in the pool with my mom.
She is fun and easy to talk to and always so appreciative.
But ultimately, it was just a lot of mental frustration.

In the end, I realized I am running myself ragged trying to "do it all" for the family.  My mom is the only person that responds with human emotions, and can have a conversation, and help plan and just act like a normal person, so she can stay. I would do anything for her.

But the other two? As hard as this has been, I think I have to cut the cord for the time being.
It has been hard for me to accept because they live so close and they are FAMILY...but I think I have to.
I can't make people change how they want to live their life and I can't accept what they are doing, so I guess it's best to remove myself from the situation.
Stop being the sole family planner.
Stop trying to reason with my brother and snap my dad out of it.
Stop feeling guilty that I am getting so angry.
Stop getting angry.

Mark and I are on the brink of starting our own family. And I think it's okay if we aren't so involved with the toxic. I do hope it's not forever. It's been tough enough on my heart to come to terms with cutting ties now. But if there is one thing I have learned, is that tough love wins out when raising a child.
I plan to implement that as soon as I possibly can with my own.
I was raised far differently than my brother, and it shows.
Parents should be there to guide their child and protect them at a young age.
But you have to let them fall.
You have to let them understand consequence and reward. Not just reward.

Anyways, I'll back down off my soapbox rant for today.
Life is too short to deal with nonsense so I'm hoping this new perspective changes my mood for the better.
Thanks for reading, loves.

5 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear this, and you're probably doing what's best by cutting the cord at this time. Parents are the number one enablers of their children's addictions and I know this first had because my parents did the same for me, I had a substance abuse problem myself in my late teens/early twenties and my mom was my number 1 enabler until they saw how bad it really was and we sought outpatient treatment. It will be hard, but it is necessary to rid your life of the toxic negativity!

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  2. I'm sorry girl. I do think you're doing the right thing for you. As someone that has had to deal with an alcoholic mother for more years of the drinking vs her being sober I can say boundaries are a good thing. It's hard as hell though, because of the love in your heart. My pastor told me and it made a ton of sense, "you can have all the love in the world for someone but when they're dragging you down actually drowning you with their addiction, that's a problem. You need to set your boundaries. You are not a product of their choices. They are. You can be there and love them, but you do not need to save them. It's not your job. They need to want to be saved, but they also need to save themselves in order for it to be a long term effective.". It made total sense and maybe I needed to be told it was ok and I wasn't a horrible person for stepping back vs trying to fix it. I hope it helps. I don't envy that struggle and I hope your brother will wake up and see he needs help.

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  3. Such a hard thing to do but you are right... life is to damn short to be surrounded by people that suck you dry instead of lifting you up. It's not easy but you are doing the right thing.

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  4. That is such a hard position to be in. I can empathize completely- my brother is older than me, yet lives with my grandma, barely holds a job (it's a condition of his probation), and acts entitled- as if everything he is given isn't good enough. I have refused to be a part of any of it since I was a teenager and it has only gotten worse since Gabriel and I got together (5 years)- my mom blames Gabriel for me begin distant versus the families behavior. In the end, it is a blessing that you and Mark have each other and (soon!) your own little family. You definitely have support!

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  5. Oh Tia, I know how hard this is and I'm so sorry you've been struggling so much. It's not easy, especially when you are giving SO much support and getting absolutely nothing in return. I think you are being smart about taking a step back. Time to focus solely on your future family in your beautiful home.

    P.S. When can we hang next?! Let's get a date down pls!

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