“You made everything about you”

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Actually I didn’t, but I would have been justified in doing so.

I no longer have family besides my mother and one second cousin. I have relatives who owe my mother and me thousands of dollars for loans, broken household furnishings and appliances, wrecked cars, broken windows, cigarette-burned furnishings and hardwood floors, rehab, rehab, rehab. When I say I have no family I am quite serious. I have my mother and my second cousin. Because when my mother or I try to ask these relatives to reimburse us at least some of the money, to send us a little each week, they laugh. And hang up. And don’t answer their phones for days.

So one relative took it upon himself to contact me on behalf of another and give me the  “you’ll be so sorry for cutting off contact if something happens to her” spiel. I said I will consider speaking to her if she SHUTS UP, listens to me, doesn’t try to shout me down, and talks with me instead of at me.

The response: She’s not going to compromise and you just have to learn to bite your tongue.

Me: No.

Response: You always make everything about you!

If that is making “everything” about myself, then I am proud of myself for doing it and I will continue doing it.

My situation is bizarre and extreme, but I’m sure that you’ve heard some variation of “it’s not all about you” multiple times in your past.

Maybe it is time to say, “Yes. I have been wronged, or not heard, or dismissed, or simply expected to be silent to avoid provoking a family argument.” You, of course, would be responsible for nothing; the persons responsible would be the ones who harmed you.

There is entirely too much denial of responsibility in our society to the point that it has become . . . it has become the norm, and taking responsibility or demanding that someone else take responsibility for their bad actions is almost bad manners.

We need to change this. It is scary and ugly and isolating to say, “You have done such a bad thing to me that I no longer consider you family and never want to see you again.”

But, based on what my mother has told me of growing up in the 1950s and 60s, the fake smiles, letting people get away with murder or at least crimes, taking the abuse, stuffing it, stifling it, maybe it is better to say “I have no family” and cut those people out of your life than live in their pretend world.

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