Family: the people who raise you, the people you marry, the relations of your partner, the children you create or take into your heart.  These relationships can bring much joy and happiness.  They can also put you into a pit of despair.  So is there ever a time to push family to the side?

Recently there was a case in New York state where a Mother and Father sued their 30 year old son because he would not leave their house.  They wanted to evict him, and guess what?  They won. Son had to move out.  There was a lot of controversy over whether or not the parents should have sued their child.  I won’t give an opinion on their situation, because I was not their intimate: I have no idea what was going on in the household.  But, the parents had obviously had enough of the situation so they did the only thing that they thought would help them: legal action.

At what point does family get you so crazy that you take them to court?

At what point does family annoy you so much that you try to keep distance?

At what point does family get you so down you can’t see them anymore?

Which brings us to: Should family get a “free pass” for bad behavior?  Should we just accept our families for how they are, and pretend that everything is fine?

As it is what I often refer to as “Write my blog Thursday” I will ask you all:

  1. Is it OK to get angry/be angry with family?
  2. Is there a point where you should walk away from family?
  3. Should family be kept at arm’s length?
  4. Should you accept boorish or disrespectful behavior just because someone is family?

You know there will be a follow up…

 

72 thoughts on “Family: Too Much? Too Little?

  1. Yes, you can be angry with family, if you didn’t from time to time the situation would not be natural. You can love your family and still find them annoying. I will say I have kept my distance from certain family members because I find their viewpoints do not jive with mine and we would be unable to have a civil conversation so we avoid it. I do not think anyone family, acquaintances, or strangers should get away with boorish or offensive behavior.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Gosh, Americans do like to sue one another, don’t they! We saw this here in Toronto on tv as well and of course in the news/media. It begs the question, at what point is the adult/kid a moocher?

    I remember my first job, part time retail while in high school. I was shocked that my mom insisted I pay 30% of my income to her. She’s charging me rent?

    She insisted. There was no debate. I was a nice girl but, like many youths, not particularly in tune with the outside world (it’s a little different today I find, many teens are more informed). I handed over the money, not questioning what she was going to do with it. We were poor, I never once owned a pair of Jordash jeans or Nike tennis shoes…we didn’t have a car till I was 17.

    When I went to University she handed me all the money back. She took it all this time, and put it aside. For me. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  3. It is okay to be angry with family. Family can push your buttons more than anyone else. They know you. But…bringing a family member to court? I was appalled by that. I was appalled to think that anyone would consider staying where they obviously were not wanted.
    Family can be kept at arm’s length and can be civil to each other, particularly if they rub each other the wrong way.
    But… not speaking to family causes grief and hardship for everyone. Holding grudges will hurt the holder more than the person they hold the grudge against. It is better for your mental health to let it go.
    There is no need to accept boorish or disrespectful behaviour from family members but do try and remember that sometimes that behaviour may be unintentional and a simple word or two can clear up any misunderstanding and lead to a better relationship
    There again. What do I know?

    Liked by 4 people

  4. 1) Yes
    2) Yes
    3) If your family is destructive or unsafe, then, of course
    4) Never
    I know there are many people who believe that family always comes first and above all else. I am not one of those people. Just because there’s a genetic or blood connection doesn’t mean we’re obligated to love them, defend them, or even have any contact with them. For some of us, these are people we have a familial connection with, but for whom we feel no respect or affinity, and whom we would never choose as friends. The Norman Rockwell image of family is both appalling and unimaginable for many of us. I suspect my view is probably the minority viewpoint . . . which may be a good thing. That said, the “family” we surround ourselves with by friendship is, to my mind, true family.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I totally agree with you, but I also agree this might be the minority opinion. I’m trying to get thoughts on how people feel. I’ve been thinking this topic over a great deal, and I’m trying to understand all the different viewpoints. Thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I won’t make any broad statements about families or Americans but one never knows someone’s shoes until you walk in them. I come from a very independent family: my brothers cut the strings a long time ago, age 18 moving out and onward. For a time in my late 20s, I left Manhattan and my parents helped me out. For that, I am grateful as it allowed me to get back on my feet but staying for a long time was never an option. Can you sue your family or take them to court? You hope your family is honest even when a good deal of money in a will is to be divided but that unfortunately isn’t always the case. Some people are greedy. We have family but we don’t always like them or even consider ourselves safe from them. I consider myself lucky that my parents raised very independent thinkers. I think sometimes you just have to do what is healthy for you.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Is it OK to get angry/be angry with family? Yep.

    Is there a point where you should walk away from family? Move away is a mucher betterer option. thank God for being in the military who will gladly send you all over the world on their dime.

    Should family be kept at arm’s length? I would say a Louisville Slugger distance away is a better distance. that or a 1 wood distance.

    Should you accept boorish or disrespectful behavior just because someone is family? I don’t take it from anyone else and one doesn’t get a pass just because they’re family. of course this brings us back to the Louisville Slugger.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Great answers. I’m trying to come up with a rationale about when is family too much, when do you cut and run, etc. I like the Louisville slugger thoughts though….

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting topic.
    My opinion may be a bit contrary (and bear in mind, I don’t know the details), but assuming we’re talking about a grown 30 year old man with no physical/mental limitations, it’s ridiculous he HAD to be sued to leave home. I can only assume that he was living off of his parents and they had enough of it. It that’s the case, I don’t blame them. That said, I personally would have a struggle suing my own child. Both of my children are grown and if they were desperate, they could always come home. Still, if they didn’t want him there (regardless of the reason) he should have respected his parents enough to abide by their wishes and problem solved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know. That case is just bizarre, but I agree with you…we do t know what went on in the home, but I’m guessing it had to be pretty bad for parents to sue

      Like

  8. Oh, yeah, you can definitely be angry with family. Who says you can’t be? We are all human and, family or not, other people will do things that make us angry. They don’t get a free pass to walk all over us just because they’re family.

    In my own family, I’ve found it necessay to keep the cousins and whatnot at arm’s length lest they drive me completely nuts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I get that about extended family!! But there are people who say you should let things go because it’s family. I’m not one of them, but I wanted to hear other opinions

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  9. Donna Cameron has given the response I would write. For various reasons, family members and myself exist with various levels of interaction and have for some time. It has proven time and again that when we attempt to come back to a closer relationship the plan is a failure so we simply drift down our own paths and try not to cross over too often if necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There are times that I regret living over 500 miles away from my family and there are times I’m really glad we live that far away. I would like to see them more, but it’s nice that certain ones can’t drop by unexpectedly.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. #1 yes
    #2 maybe
    #3 sometimes
    #4 no
    Family are people. Sometimes they make you angry and are upsetting. If the problem can’t be resolved let it go as best you can. They are to be treated kindly and with respect. If they are unkind and disrespectful it’s okay to keep a distance from them.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hmmm… I’ve had a lot of the same questions and it has caused a lot of internal conflict. There is not a ‘one size fits all answer’ to any of these questions as each individual and their circumstances are different.

    Lately I’ve come to realize that it is OK to get angry/be angry with family but we need to communicate about what is bothering us. We are all human and we all make mistakes and deserve to have a second chance. We also feel differently about things and can’t expect everyone else to feel exactly the same.

    Sometimes there are friends and family that we only need to be around in small doses because of various reasons such as the boorish or disrespectful behavior that doesn’t change. For some people these traits are just a part of their personality and they can’t/won’t change but if it something you can live with then maybe you just need to take it on a day by day basis.

    The hardest part of my past experiences is that sometimes we do need to walk away from some friends/family and completely sever all ties when these relationships are toxic to us and those around us. This is far easier said than done and I have forgiven over and over expecting a different result but being disappointed and hurt over and over by the same person/people. It is normal to feel a sense of relief when this decision is made but you may also experience a sense of guilt, grief, and loss at the same time.

    Sometimes there is abuse, be it physical, mental, emotional, or sexual that can not and should never be tolerated. Only when separated from the abuser, whether friend or family, can the abused truly see what is going on because the abuser often has some form of control over when you are in constant contact.

    These are not answers that everyone will agree with, especially those who have had better family experiences than I have, but they may resonate with others facing the same conflicts as myself.

    I know that I have seen families that are strong and united where these answers would shock them but I have also seen dysfunctional families that can not work together no matter how much counseling they have been through.

    Sometimes family is not defined by blood but rather those who stick around and support us through the good and the bad times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very beautiful and thoughtful reply! Thank you! And you’re right. There is no one size fits all sir the questions I’m posing, because each individual experience is different. Some have had wonderful experiences, while others, not so much. But it goes to the judging question…why do people judge those who have had different family experiences? Sometimes oh need to cut ties because it’s for your own survival. And thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I feel that family has to make an effort at relationships. My husband has no relationship with his siblings and a very limited one with his parents. All because they never made him feel important or valued within their group. And they have all extended that “valueless” attitude towards me and our children. So he has relationships with my family. My sibling. My sibling’s children. My extended family. Because he feels valued by them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a really good point. It’s true…why spend time with people who basically don’t respect you? You do end up finding the support you need, and you end up creating the family you need/want. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I would hope that we had raised our kids to WANT to be self-sufficient. We do help them out when we can and would not let them be homeless or starving but we also expect them to take charge of their own lives once they hit 21. We have family members that we don’t associate with unless we have to, but in my opinion, your family doesn’t have to be your best friend if they are not the kind of people you want to be with.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The tri-color ones are the tastiest. And family is not to be taken lightly or dismissed easily. Once your family is gone, they are gone.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. True. But what about family that treats you disrespectfully or acts passive aggressively? What are the boundaries? Should there be boundaries?

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  15. This is a great topic. I guess it all really depends on everyone in that family. There will always be fights within a family, there is no getting around that the closer you are to someone the more likely you are to fight with them IMO. I have seen some families on the outside looking in where I can see them kicking their kids out and saying, it’s about time, but it also doesn’t mean they never talk to them again. I have a strange relationship with my family for various reasons (mainly my parents and a grandparent), but they are all dead now and even though we weren’t close I still miss my parents and respect them even though they made so many bad decisions in their lives.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing. Family relationships are such a tough thing…and fighting. Much of it depends on what the fighting is about…I hate stupid conflict, with fighting for fightings sake

      Liked by 1 person

  16. My mom had to distance herself from me while I was in active addiction. She’d answer the phone, she’d let me come visit; but there was an emotional distance. Now that I’m clean, she’s one of my very bestest friends. Sometimes, you have to keep family at arm’s length to protect your own well-being. My mom was right; if she’d given me money every time I asked them I would never have hit bottom and gotten clean.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. The ones who claims family boundaries rules over all other things often are the toxic ones in a family group. If they’re toxic get away from them no matter if they’re family or not. It isn’t so easy when it’s family though.

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  18. Those are hard questions. When I am angry at someone, it helps if I can have a conversation with that person wherein I explain, calmly, that when they act in such-and-such a manner, it makes me feel _________. I think there can be a point when one walks away from family, such as if one has a parent that is an alcoholic and refuses to get help etc. Whether to keep family at arm’s length totally depends on how nice or caustic the person is. If they are kind and thoughtful – wonderful! If not, then perhaps less contact might be better for all involved. I think the answer to #4 is no … I might at some point though try to explain how their behavior affects me.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It really bothers me when I hear that people in families aren’t speaking to each other, usually over something stupid. And it seems once you stop talking or dealing with people, it gets easier to distance yourself from other people too. A little forgiveness and give and take go a long way. Family members can be really annoying, but it’s something we all have to tolerate if we want to keep families together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a matter of when enough is enough though. I think you have to be pushed pretty hard to distance yourself. My mom and I went through a falling out a few years ago, and it was because she got mad at me because I didn’t do what she wanted. She refused to see and treat me as an adult. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but I needed to do it. It’s a tough call.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, no, not exactly. I’ve had my share of falling outs with siblings. And I don’t really feel great when I’m not talking to someone. It may be necessary for that cooling off period, but I’m not terribly happy about it. I recently had an argument that was overheard by several relatives at a party, and quickly made up with the sister I was arguing with. Because keeping it going was just dumb. And everyone was most amazed at how quickly we got over it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My mom and I didn’t speak for a year. She continually treats me as a child and gets mad if I don’t make decisions that she likes. I’d had enough because I didn’t want to be reprimanded for doing things my way. It was tough but necessary for our relationship

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  20. At first the story in the news had me going like what type of parents are these but then I flipped the coin, maybe that was the only way to teach their kid a lesson. That assumption means that parents won’t do something to a kid if they feel it won’t help them, which I am learning is absolutely false. I know a couple of people that will do not such nice things to their kids just because they can’t stand them anymore. For example, leave them at an orphanage. Maybe these people aren’t mean and they are trying to have fun, but at what expense? Parents are humans too. Their whole life may see to a child that it is focused on the child but in reality parents are really just people. That being said, i strongly feel that when it comes to family, a good family, will aim to respect everyone. Does that ever happen? No. Many people will admit to having a love/hate relationship with their family. Why does it have to be that way? Because everyone within the family feels as though they are family and are entitled to act however they want and you will have no choice but to accept it because they are your family. Do I agree with this? No. Family should work extra hard to balance teaching each other and respecting each other. Parents have a controlling role most of a child’s life (at least in the circles I am from) and when it is time to let go there generally is friction involved. However, keeping things into perspective can help parents and children realize if what is being done (to either side) is out of spite or love. And that is the key point when it comes to family. How bittersweet do they make things for you and can you see the sweet more than the bitter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great thoughtful comments. I think yo7 hit on a very valid point…just because they’re family doesn’t mean you show no respect for them. I think sometimes family treats other family callously with the excuse, well, it’s ok, it’s family… thank you for great insight!!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. So, yes. I definitely believe we all have the right to leave family alone. In fact, a few years ago, I decided to begin treating all people the same, meaning, I interact with friends the same way I do family. If you are a family member who is not very nice, judgmental, never visits, calls, etc., then guess what? I don’t think that’s a great relationship, no matter what your perceived title, and so, I’ve opted to leave people like that alone. No one gets to treat you crappy (however you define it) and still get to be in relationship. It’s an anxiety-ridden, stressful, and toxic way to be. And…ain’t nobody got time for that 😉

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  22. I think those who are related to us are family, whether we like it or not. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be angry with them, or that we have to make them a big part of our lives. Sometimes the best thing to do is put some distance between ourselves and our family. I have some relatives I love dearly, and others…not so much. In those cases, I stay cordial, but not close. I have friends who fill the gaps in terms of support, and that’s just fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the problem is that some people think family means you can treat them like dirt, but you have to remain in contact because they’re “family”. And realistically, how many people can you be close with?

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  23. My initial reaction is, wow, they evicted their own child? That said, we don’t know the situation and how the son treated his parents. Just because somebody is ‘family’ it doesn’t mean that you have to put up with their shit indefinitely. As you get older, you become less tolerant of it. It’s hard to comment without knowing the details, but maybe they’ve done him a big favour. We all have to fly, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I thought…we don’t know what actually happened in the house. He may be doing things that they just don’t like, and honestly, you shouldn’t have to put up with that behavior in your own house…

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  24. My first response to the news story is why did the son not leave when they asked him? His behavior is incomprehensible. But so is the behavior of the parents. No one but a fool gets into a lawsuit when talking and working the thing out will do the trick. Sometimes you get into situations with difficult people, but when the situation is with your own children, I’m sorry, but it’s on you. Obviously these are incompetent parents.
    As for letting adult children live with you without contributing rent, no. Not unless the child is infirm.
    In our own households when we are the parents, we set the tone. This is our home. It is up to us to train our children to be kind, Fair, and loving to their siblings. Unfortunately some parents she was a more laissez-faire method of parenting with predictable results: kids who fight and resent each other. Love is always a choice but the first choice is made by parents who lead their households. Finally, loving someone does not mean you should be their meal ticket if they’re able bodied they have to do that for themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for great comments. I just had to wonder how bad a situation is that you need to sue your child. I take parenting seriously, but taking parenting seriously is often met with mocking and derision. People think you’re thinking about it too much….no one knows how we’re supposed to parent….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I keep thinking about your comment no one tells us how to parent. That is so true. We have come to be a society where our belief in no rules has left us confused about what to do in a crisis. I am going to think about this and maybe blog on it.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. 1 – It’s absolutely ok to get and be angry with family. They are imperfect just like all of us and unfortunately, because they know many more intimate details about us, usually hurt us the most. It’s perfectly normal to justifiably get and be angry with family. However how you deal with the anger is the key. Galatians 6:2 reminds us to honor our mother and father. Matthew 6:14 tells us the importance of forgiveness and Ephesians 4:31,32 says, “Put away from yourselves every kind of malicious bitterness, anger, wrath, screaming, and abusive speech, as well as everything injurious. But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.” So we have to forgive, continue to be respectful despite how family may hurt us.
    2 and 3 – Yes, when their behavior begins to affect you in a negative way. 1 Corinthians 5:11 says, “But now I am writing you to stop keeping company with anyone called a brother who is sexually immoral or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man.”
    4 – Should you accept boorish or disrespectful behavior just because someone is family? No. 1 Corinthians 15:33 reminds us that bad association spoils useful habits and Proverbs 13:20 says, “The one walking with the wise will become wise,But the one who has dealings with the stupid will fare badly.” We are not required to be around family just because they’re family especially if they exhibit attitudes and behaviors detrimental to us or themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

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