Blood isn't thicker than peace of mind...
I knew it
I knew she would eventually make her way back here
She saunters in looking so sweet
But she is not
She is toxic
I know it
I wonder if she knows it
She walks into the room and surveys the prey
Her eyes lock on me and she flops down on the couch next to me
She says and lays her head on my shoulder
She smells like honeysuckle
Once upon a time I loved that smell
When I went away to college
I used to miss that smell
Now it makes my stomach turn
I paused and looked down at her
Maybe she is staying on her meds
Maybe she is trying to do better
Maybe there is some hope
“You miss me?” She said while she played with the rings on her hand
“You are my little sister, I care about you.”
“That’s not what I asked”
“I miss who we were." I said. I meant it with everything
'What do you mean by that?"
"Jas I am not sure what you want me to say. I mean... do I miss bailing you out, do I miss having to clean up your messes, do I miss fighting with you, do I miss the drama?
No love, I don’t.”
She quickly picks her head up and looks at me with a hurt expression and yelled
“See I knew your stuck up ass ain’t changed. You ain't perfect. You ain't better than me. Nobody wanted to see you and nobody wants you here either.”
Everyone in the room stopped.
you could hear a pin drop with how quiet it got
she got up quickly, threw a crumpled up paper at me and walked away.
I sat there for a moment and waited for everyone else's eyes to return to former position. I reached down and grabbed the paper that she threw at me. It was a cut-off notice.
"of course" I sighed
Still a mess - still Jas
With summertime here
family get togethers, cook outs, and reunions are on the horizon
Sitting and communing with the people that you grew up with can be very healing.
However it can also be very trying on your patience and character especially when you encounter that one family member that makes you never want to visit family again.
So…there are some people who would just cut them off
but this feels cold, and really should only be a last resort
To be sure there are a few things that you can do to make your situation a little easier
To be fair - Communication should always be the first move
Using the I statements “ When you do ….. I feel …. and it hurts me.
One would think that if your people know they are hurting you that they would change right?
There is some reality to this but here is some cold hard truth
You know your family
If your father has been passive aggressive most of your childhood, he isn’t going to change
If your mom plays the victim for most of your life, she isn’t going to change
Most people in your life have been set in their ways for most of their life and while we would want to think that they would try and change for us - these changes are often short lived.
While common in many communities but specifically in the black community we have issues with mental health and acknowledging when someone needs help
This plays a role in the downfall of family relationships.
So if talking to the person didn’t resolve the problem, what else can we do?
Limiting your time
You can do this by being choosy about which family outings you plan to attend, limiting your encounter with the family member or limiting the amount of time you spend at the occasion.
All of these are options
You can also bring back-up. You can bring a friend, a date, your spouse or a crazy cousin that understands the mission. The mission being never leaving you and the toxic one alone and if necessary giving you an out to walk away from any situation.
Staying away from topics that you know are going to make someone say something stupid is a good way to help keep drama down. Money, religion and politics have been known to tear families to shreds but since it is 2022 lets add sexuality and gender to the mix. As much as our society likes to pretend that we have progressed you are always going to have a family member with an unpopular opinion.
The truth is you know your family
As easy as it is for those member to press your buttons and get under your skin
BUT - You also know the patterns
If Uncle Richard starts talking trash after his 3rd beer - start packing your stuff when you see him drink the first one.
If your brother brings his new girlfriend but the hot headed baby mama is there - that might be a good time to make your “to-go’ plate.
If that one relative who always makes jokes at your expense starts to key up like its "Showtime at the Apollo" - it is time to head out.
Let's get real for a moment
With there being 250 mass shootings since January 2022 - give your loved ones their flowers today because we are not promised tomorrow.
The goal of a family getting together is for the family to continue to keep the love that brought family together in the first place alive and you can still do that. You just have to be more structured about your attack. Come in, make sure you hit those people that make your life happy, catch up on those stories with people that you miss, send love to everyone (yes them too), keep your boundaries intact (stand your ground but don't feed the drama) and if it starts to get ugly - we leave… Its that simple.