Managing the Shortfalls in your Family

“There’s one in every family, sire.”

The lethargic, the laggards, the don’t-wanna-be’s and the not-there’s. We have those who abandon their families, contribute nothing and otherwise might mooch, drain or destroy the qualities of life within any family.

There are times to fight for the people who don’t even know they need to be fought for. But then there are times to realize that if someone doesn’t want to participate as a member of your family, for however hard it might be with them gone, it will be much harder if you keep them around.

To bind anyone to something they don’t want will always bring misery for everyone involved. Better to let them free and deal with the shortfall, yourself, than to demand they fill their roles, only to find them half-assed or even counter productive to your own efforts.

It’s not easy cutting people out of your life, especially if you love them, despite all the hardship they may cause. But if someone in your family is beyond difficult, and honestly doesn’t want to engage more than what he or she can get out of you, you have to think of the overall health of the family who actually wants to participate, and be willing to cut out the dying parts.

It might seem cold to be willing to dismiss someone from your life. Heartless. Even Godless. But there are ways to simultaneously manage someone else’s interference in your life while promoting hope and health in theirs. I have no direct way to advocate for you that doesn’t involve having a faith of your own. What I might suggest is that you stand your ground and don’t allow them around you when you don’t give them permission. Don’t give them money or allow them to crash with you. Don’t let them borrow things.

Gee, Christian, you sound like an asshole.

Why must holding other people to standards of conduct make me an asshole? I believe that families are groups of people who choose to be together, not merely conjoin by blood or other happenstance spawning. I think this way because I grew up without knowing my biological father, and had a different pretty poor father figure on the road upwards, but I realize that my family is a family because we stuck it out together, however difficult that might have seemed at times.

My own father chose to avoid the awesomeness of me, so while he’s my biological father, he will never be family until he chooses to be. And that option is still on the table, but I won’t exercise it until he agrees to it.

Who in your life was born into it but has no desire to join? Do you beg and plead for them to participate in the family festivities from some notion that blood is thicker than water? Blood, my dear ladies and gentlemen, means little when it comes to the dedication of the mind and the commitments of the heart. True blood comes from love and commitment, and spills only by the waste of effort to force others into forms they are not ready to join, followed by the subsequent sorrow for your soiled efforts.

I always advocate living a clean life; and in this case I’m not referring morally inasmuch as cluttered/non-cluttered with relationships that serve no one. And to be true, there are times cutting them out isn’t an option, such as when they are elderly and need you, or they are your child, or sometimes when your spouse is absent enough to hurt your relationship but not egregious enough to sever the marriage entirely.

I encourage you to do everything you can to prevent those who drain you to, well, drain you. Learn to stand your ground and cut them off from access to every single part of your life. Instead, limit them to what you can manage without losing yourself to their drama, self-generated problems and pathetic natures. Some people just want others to do for them, solve their problems and otherwise keep them from the responsibilities that would make them somewhat successful, replete with success and failure.

It won’t be easy, but I guarantee you that it will serve itself out positively in the long run. I wish you all luck and God’s favor. Good night.