I don’t believe in keeping people in your life if they don’t treat you how they should – how you’ve defined how people should treat you. But, what if they’re family?
A long time ago I created a mental list of how I’d treat others. I try to be respectful, understanding, polite, and honest no matter what. When I’m not those things, I apologize profusely and probably don’t repeat my mistake. I don’t think it’s wrong to expect the same back from people in my life. If I don’t get it back, they get a few more chances and probably a lengthy talk with me to understand what happened. If nothing changes I have to distance myself. I think that’s fair – to me and the person.
I worry as I write this that I may not come off as the person I try to be – a nice person (but doesn't a nice person forgive, Erin? argh!). You may think everyone has family issues that they deal. Sure they do, do they have to? Do I have to? You may also think that certain people in your family deserve a lot more forgiveness than others. I thought that, too, for many years. I respect that someone may think these things, but right now, in my current situation, I’m exhausted.
I assure you I’m not talking about something trivial or something that happened once or twice. It’s also not just one thing. I can’t explain myself any more than that. I’ve gotten flack before for having an issue with something someone in my family did, but it was focused on the actual action not the underlying and ongoing problem I was trying to point out. I hope I’m explaining myself better with this post. I'm not crazy. I'm not selfish. I'm not overreacting. I'm thinking this through. I assure you.
Should you take crap you wouldn’t take from others from someone just because they’re family?
I would never put up with half of the stuff some of my family members do and/or say to me and my husband if they were our friend, and, in my almost 33 years, I’ve given family members more than enough leeway and forgiveness because they were family. I’ve tried every approach I’ve read about and consulted people about, but it is overwhelming at this point, and I was the only person who was trying to change things. I’m not trying to sound stupid here, but I can guarantee you it’s not me anymore!
When there are multiple occurrences of disrespect, harsh words, name calling, crazy acts, negativity, manipulations, etc. (often times in front of my son), how much is someone supposed to take?
It’s my decision now to keep this away from my husband and my son. That does mean Lincoln won’t be seeing some of these people any time soon, but, as his mother, I feel like I’m protecting him from them and the person I become around that. No, I don’t talk bad about these people in front of him nor do I feel like I’m keeping him from anything good or beneficial. They’re simply fading away.
Go ahead and ask “Would you want him to do this to you?” I’ve thought about that a lot. Of course I’d like to think I would treat him kindly for the rest of my life, but the answer is yes. If I was harming him and the life he was trying to have, I would want him to make less the effort I have (yes, less) and then if nothing changed, to do the same.
It’s up to us as people to determine and then set how we want to be treated as human beings. It’s up to us as mothers to decide that for our children. To me, certain actions and mistreatment are unacceptable. I don’t care who you are.
Erin Hill is a first-time mom to Lincoln, who was born in January 2010. She's learning as she goes and is experiencing everything a new mom goes through while seeing the humor, irony, and enjoyment in her adventures.
Erin is a full-time technical writer, a freelancer for Patch, and co-creator and blogger at SlimSavers.com. She lives in Plum with Lincoln, her husband, Adam, their dog, Roxie, and five (yes, five) cats, Nirvana, Gary Roberts, Elvis, Talbot and Forrest. (Anyone want a cat?)