May 30, 2014 by phicks2012
Not another poem. Those seem to be wildly popular, but I already had too many of those scheduled, and not another comic strip either, because those were already firmly on the schedule too. I have my medieval recipes planned out for certain dates (and have to have the ingredients on hand), so that wasn’t my choice either, and people seem to be largely bored by my gardening notes. I suppose those put them into a vegetative state. Go figure! 😉
What did I select then? Well, I decided to talk pseudo-seriously about self-preservation and the weirder dynamics of friendship and family, and why it is that relatives and/or friends can sometimes get absolutely furious at us for refusing to be taken advantage of.
I have a friend, a dear person, who has several perfectly functional adult children, but also one who has a drug problem and keeps breaking into her house when she’s away, stealing her belongings, trashing the house, and (to add insult to injury) somehow managing to run up huge cable porn bills even though she has parental locks in place. She finally filed charges against him, and now (guess what!!) the rest of her family is refusing to speak to her.
Why (in any reasonably sane universe) is that justified? In my opinion, it isn’t, because as long as her son is permitted to get away with destructive and larcenous behavior (victimizing his own mother, for Godsake) he’s going to keep on with it. Just my two bits, but he needs to learn that in the real world there actually are consequences, and the rest of the family needs to supply a little tough love rather than enabling him.
Note to her loving family: She’s not the villain here, folks! She’s the victim, and would very much like to stop BEING the victim! Cut her some slack! It’s stressing ME out just WATCHING this drama unfold!
I’ve personally had friends, though not family, become unreasonably angry with me for refusing to do huge (and often expensive, time-consuming and problematic) favors for them or for other mutual acquaintances — but the thing is that I LONG ago fulfilled my own lifetime quota of being a SUCKER, of trying to help people who wouldn’t help themselves, and of trying to help people who wound up taking advantage of my good nature, stealing from me, or at the very least creating huge amounts of unwanted DRAMA and MAYHEM in my life. Those dues are LONG paid in full. I now figure I have lifetime membership to the “I’ve Learned My Lesson the Hard Way Club”, and should NEVER be up for renewal. In reality TV competition parlance, I survived the Flash Challenge and now ought to have Immunity! So There!
Like my friend, I’ve finally and belatedly learned to “just say NO”. Okay, so I still try to be tactful about it, because that’s the way I tend to be, but the answer is the same. “No, I will not put up my house as assurance to bail you out of jail for DUI”. “No, I will not co-sign on your car loan”. “No, I will not let you move into my house rent-free and run up huge utility bills (that you will not pay) in return for doing housework or some other ongoing service (that will soon cease to be on-going) around the place, especially when you are otherwise a complete head-case”. “NO, I will not let you (with your excreble driving record, no license and no insurance) drive my only vehicle”. “No, I will not take you in as a housemate when I have good reason to believe you are now a habitual drug-user (who will steal my personal belongings to support your habit), even if we WERE “sort-of” friends 20 years ago before you headed off down that road”.
I am constantly amazed at the sort of things family will expect people to tolerate (and to continue tolerating) from other family members, and at the sort of “favors” some people will ask of other people under the umbrella of “friendship” when more often than not the “friendship” is casual at best. I also stand even MORE amazed at how they (or other people who didn’t want to help them either) can justify becoming outraged at YOU when you say “No”.
We are allowed to practice self-preservation, folks. We can aspire to help others who deserve and appreciate it, but as far as I know there is no law stating that we have to place ourselves in physical, emotional, or financial peril to help anyone who happens to be related to us, who happens to know us, or who simply has the cojones to ask.
‘Nuff said, and “NO, I will not loan you money that I know (from experience) you will never make any remote attempt to repay.” 😉 Just is case you were thinking of asking.