There is a lady whose blog I read on and off and who I follow on Facebook. She blogs without using her real name or those of her family so is fairly free to talk as she pleases. This week, she has been talking about the visit of a family member who she refers to as the "drama llama" for all of the drama and stress that she brings with her. This woman, apparently, just winds everyone up.
I try really hard to not give advice to people who are facing issues in their life because, let's face it, my life isn't a stellar example of perfection. That being said, I wish that I could take her aside and tell her to distance herself from toxic people - related or not. This woman is a toxic influence in her life and she owes it to herself to not allow this.
I did this with my own mother. In the last seven or eight years or so before she died last year, I distanced myself from her as much as possible. I only laid eyes on her a few times a year and, even then, only for a couple of hours or so.
It was liberating!
There wasn't anybody putting down my feelings. There wasn't anybody gossiping about me to anybody who would listen. Best of all? My kids, for the most part, didn't have her toxic effect in their lives.
Nobody looks at my kids when they express feelings that are different and tells them "don't be so silly". Nobody has taught them that it's better to be quiet than to risk being shot down for their opinion. Nobody has destroyed their self-esteem.
I don't claim to be a perfect parent but my greatest hope is that my kids won't grow up to call me a toxic influence on their lives.
I wondered if I would have regrets about the distance that I put between her and I once she was gone but I don't. I did what was best for my own sanity and for my kids' well being. No regrets there.
If I felt comfortable advising my bloggy friend, I would tell her that nobody has the right to make her life miserable; that she has the right to say "enough!". Maybe she'll eventually reach that conclusion herself or perhaps she'll find a better way to deal with her drama llama. Either way, I look forward to applauding when she finds her way.
What am I thankful for today? The fact that I was able to leave work at a normal time today after yesterday's very long day. C'est le weekend!