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Family Guilt Trips

A Family Trip I Don’t Enjoy

Sometimes, family isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I mean, I absolutely LOVE my family. I would do anything for my husband, kids, sister, brother, the in-laws, nieces, and nephews. This includes the family I’ve chosen for myself, the friends who are family, or framily. But there are family members that drive me absolutely up a damn wall. And I’m sure they know who they are.

When I talk to my sister about their antics, I’ll say, “Guess what your crazy cousin did today.” Or “Your aunt emailed me again.” In the south, everybody has crazy in their families. That’s just the way it is. We put it out on the front porch for all to see. But sometimes, that shit needs to be hidden. Like deep down in the darkest recesses of the couch cushions where candy wrappers go to die.

The drama queens in my family are the ones who don’t take any responsibility for their actions and only want to tell you and anyone else who’ll listen how you’ve hurt them. They turn the responsibility back on you, instead of being an adult and owning up to their own bullshit.

My crazy relative (not naming names but if the shoe fits…) decided to try to guilt me into something yesterday and I’m not having it. She actually said to me that my Mama wouldn’t want me treating her that way. And I just said, “I ain’t going on your guilt trip. I don’t work that way. My Mama didn’t guilt me and you’re not gonna guilt me into doing a damn thing. And while I’m on this subject, yes my Mama would want me to call you out on your lies and stand up for what’s right.” All the while I’m thinking, “You can go piss up a rope.”

But of course, that didn’t help the situation and it certainly didn’t diffuse anything. So now, I’m probably going to have to eat crow. But not for a while. Mostly because I’m stubborn.

Just this last Sunday in church we heard about James 3 -taming the tongue. It was an especially good service and a timely one. Funny how that always works out. It’s like my pastor knows my heart and what’s going on and tailors each service just for me.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

I definitely have trouble taming the tongue. I just get so fired up and then let the words fly. I don’t intend to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I also don’t intend to be a doormat. I struggle with not letting my mouth run my life. But my sanity is worth a lot so I am trying to remove the negativity from my life.

How to Deal

So what do you do with family members who overstep or are constant PITAs? Normally, I would vent to my sister but she’s in her busy season at work and I don’t want to trouble her. So, I vented to my husband who, while he listened and said he agreed with me, definitely didn’t make me feel better like my sis does. She gets it – after all, she’s got crazy in her family, too!

One thing we can do to keep the craziness at bay is – do not engage. Do not engage when they try to get you involved. Now, this doesn’t mean you have the right to be mean to them. Just don’t take the bait. Be the adult and remind these happiness suckers that you don’t have the time to discuss their issues at this moment. Then, you’re not the bad guy. You’re just the busy guy.

Another thing we can do to not allow the crazy to infiltrate is to let go of those relationships that are toxic. If you’re like me, you’ve tried for years to have a normal relationship with this person and it’s not working. It’s ok to set up boundaries and defend them. You don’t owe an explanation to anyone about what keeps your sanity. You do you, Mama.

You don’t have to have a relationship with family just because they’re family. It doesn’t work that way. You don’t have to keep trying to be something you’re not to make others happy, and you certainly don’t have to suck up to someone who possibly shares the same bloodline as you. Cut the ties that bind and move on with your life.

Some people seem to only be alive to suck the fun and life out of others. If you’re in a relationship with someone, family or otherwise, who is manipulating you, trying to guilt you into doing things, or has an affinity for creating drama and trouble, do the right thing for yourself and move on.

If you’ve tried everything to make it work, well, as my daddy always says, “It’s time to fish or cut bait.” And sometimes, it’s ok to cut bait for sanity’s sake.

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