“More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren't so busy denying them.” ~Harold J. Smith

I am struggling with something.

Seriously struggling.

A member of my family is involved in a legal matter that has resulted in formal arrest and at least temporary incarceration. I wont go into details. It is nothing hugely criminal but it is definitely against the law and stupid. This person knows better. This person is also a repeat offender – not in the legal sense – but someone constantly plagued with problems that other family members are constantly fixing (cough, cough, enabling).

It is tearing me apart not to help this person. Truth is I believe they should be punished. That is what laws are for. This person is not a victim or idiot but rather an educated, professional, intelligent person WITH LOTS OF PROBLEMS.

To help this person requires significant money (which I really don't have but could possibly find a way to get by selling stocks or getting loans).

I am conflicted because I think this person really will continue to mess up and this current situation MIGHT be what it takes to get their head on straight. However, this could also be a situation that makes this person go even further into a very bad place. The drama and conflict it is causing in my entire family is mind boggling.

If this person wasn't a member of my family, I would likely say "Gee, too bad, Good luck with that" and shrug it off in support of the law.

But this person is a member of my family so it is not that easy.

Even more close to home, I know the rage this person is likely feeling right now because no one is coming out to help them. I know what it feels like to be sent away and have everyone pretend you don't exist and no one offer to help you or to get involved.

BUT, I did not break the legal law by getting pregnant with my daughter. One can argue values and morals, and I will argue back that it is not the same. I did not have this pattern that this person has. I did not put anyone in danger when I got pregnant (although some argued I put my daughter in danger by even thinking of keeping her with her own mother.)

It is not the same.

Yet somehow for me, something feels the same and I am aching inside.

11 Thoughts.

  1. Oh honey, I know this must be so hard for you. Your feelings of being abandoned by your family are triggered. I am gonna e-mail you. Luv & Hugs,

  2. Is it possible to reach out emotionally without bailing them out? Like, I’m sorry you are in this situation, I care about you, etc.

  3. You say other family members have helped this person in the past yet the person continues to exhibit the same behaviour that lands them in trouble? How many times?
    How many pregnancies did you need help with? You know only too well the pain of being turned away in your time of need so this is bound to be triggering, but put it in perspective. You cannot equate yourself with this person. Your situation was nothing similar. You need to distance yourself from this for your own well-being.
    I have an adoptive sibling who is too often in the same situation, usually related to intoxicants of some sort, nothing hugely criminal but against the law nonetheless.
    You can’t help but feel a huge obligation to help family, adoptive or natural.
    But sometimes it’s better follow the advice of your first two commenters and offer verbal encouragement, then turn off your phone. You don’t want to be on that list of enablers.
    I am sorry if my comment comes across a little harsh, I don’t want to sound mean. I am sorry for the pain you are feeling. Triggers are everywhere, for adoptees as well as first mothers.

  4. If it were me — and only you can decide what’s best for you — I would be there for the person emotionally and be supportive, like another poster said, but not try to “fix” the problem or enable the person by selling stocks or such. Since you’re really NOT in a position to fix the problem financially, what you can do is offer emotional support.
    I know this brings up triggers from your pregnancy and the adoption, and I feel for you for that — *hugs*, Suz. I hope this doesn’t sound cold, but IMHO, this new situation needs to be looked at by its own merits or whatever. Yanno? I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. I’m not trying to minimize your pain; I’m really not.
    I’m so sorry for the pain that this situation is causing you and your family.

  5. You should help that person if you can. Unless a crime is violent, no one belongs behind bars.

  6. I don’t know if this is an actual “bail” situation but up here (in Canada) we have programs that speak to the court and undertake to supervise the individual under what ever conditions the court sets. This is usually where bail is required but the individual does not have the money to post it. The program is in lieu of bail. Maybe there is something like that where your relative lives. Then you could offer the support that people have suggested while having an objective third part developing a program for him/her.

  7. I think it’s possible to offer emotional support without falling into the “enabling” trap.

  8. My thoughts:
    1. Don’t fork out $$ for someone who’s already proven unable to responsibly handle that kind of assistance. In fact, don’t fork out anything you can’t afford to a person who knows they’ve got troubles but is not yet at the point of accepting responsibility for making necessary changes. It’s bad for both of you.
    2. Listen to Brad! Brad knows! And Brad is a good guy, so you know his advice is trustworthy and loving.
    2. You did nothing wrong when you had sex, became pregnant, and grew a baby. Your family did wrong when they treated you like a criminal for being a normal healthy fertile woman.
    Sorry your relative is in the crapper. Hope s/he will see the light of day from the bottom of the well there, and start taking responsibility for creating a healthier life.

  9. Lula – Agree with you and everyone else and especially Brad. Wrote him last night and thanked him. His comment was the most powerful for me. I am Brad fan after all.

Comments are closed.