I'm writing to you because my family is a disaster. My mother is horribly overweight and doesn't take care of herself and leaves everything for "God" to handle. My brother got his girlfriend pregnant and is not taking responsibility for his child. My father is an alcoholic who drinks so much I'm afraid to invite him into my home. I'm the first to go to college and I'm working to pay my own way with no help from them. I love them but they drive me crazy. What can I do?Dear daughter of dysfunctional family:
I sense that, just like you, your family is stubborn, inflexible and determined - once you've set your mind to get something done, you're going to do it. And so do they. Once they set their mind to it... It's just that they're determined to do things that are not in their best interest.
You are moving forward and expanding, while they are not. You had a life in the past with them, and even though you don't want to abandon them, you are moving away, and you wonder what will happen to them.
If someone came up to you and said: "Okay, it's time for you to stop going to school and trying to better yourself and it's time for you to move back in with your family and start drinking heavily..." How would you react?"
You know how you would react, and despite you being able to hold your tongue, I know you would have a hard time staying silent. (I will not quote what I imagine you would be saying.)
I wonder though... when will you allow your family to merely be who they are?
You tell them what they should do - and you're right to tell them and you need to tell them - because they're making a mess of so many things, and you can see what they need to do.
And they won't do it.
You are the one who will always be there as a daughter, a sister... a loving tolerant person. You are strong and powerful and I see you will be more so in your future.
Yet just as your family may have taught you: "God separated Himself from His Son to save others", so must you separate.
And just as they may have taught you: "His Son took on what He had to do..."
As they say, everyone has a cross to bear, and yours may be that you can not comfort your family so they stop behaviors so obvious to you.
You are learning (and have learned) to be more rational, and yet you might have to - as unbearable as it may be - listen to your mother and leave some of it for "God to handle."
Of course you are allowed to make rules and enforce them, too, to prevent larger disasters, such as:
"Dad, I love you and if you drink and drive, I will call the police."I'm reminded of this story for you:
"Brother, I love you and I will not hide you from your responsibilities to your baby."
"Mom, I love you and I want you to stay alive as long as possible."
Saint Francis of Assisi discovered a wolf was terrorizing and killing people in a village, so he met the wolf at the edge of the woods, and told him to stop hurting everyone and make peace. He told the wolf that if peace was made, then the people would stop hunting the wolf and the wolf would stop terrorizing the people. All past crimes would be forgiven on both sides. And the wolf agreed and lived until his death at peace with the townspeople.As they say: "I love you, and now it's in God's hands."