Then I would say something like: If you want peace in the world, you need to be able to get along with your own family, your parents and your brothers and sisters, and your cousins and so on. You need to be able to get along with your neighbors and with your school mates. Because if you can't even get along with the people around you, we can't ever expect to have peace with people who are far away and have totally different lives. And I still believe that today.
But we all know it's often hardest to get along with those who are closest to us. Those we cohabitate with.
When there's an upset inside a family, it can be very difficult to get back to the status quo.
Right now I'm trying to help my sister Sue figure out WHAT she can do to try and bring things back to normal in her home. And there are no easy answers. Obviously it's very hard to 'fix' things if people can't at least try to communicate. And when everybody is upset, it's hard to try to keep emotions out enough to be calm and listen to one another.
Sometimes it's not so much what we say -- it's how we respond to what another person says to us.
I wish I knew what to say to Sue to help her. I just know I LOVE HER VERY MUCH and want to be able to support her. But I just told her we all need to stop the 'blame game' -- I need to do that just as much as she does. If everybody could agree to quit blaming everybody else, maybe we could make some headway with how to resolve the issues that are underlying the emotional outbursts.
Sue is very hurt by things that have been said, and I think rightly so. Still, she needs to work past it. And I need to do that, too! It would be great if nobody was 'taking sides' here, because there shouldn't be sides to begin with. These people are a family and they love each other. And we always hurt our own family -- maybe because we can...
Please don't get the impression that I'm saying ALL family situations can be repaired. I've known many that couldn't -- and that shouldn't. Perhaps most people are good, but not ALL people are good. And I do feel if there's a toxic and unhealthy situation that can't improve, then it is best for family to break up. I told my father many times that I didn't agree with 'blood is thicker than water,' and the concept that family could do no wrong. Just because you're related (or live together in a family unit of non-relatives), that doesn't mean things will always work out. (I have both friends and relatives that were much happier once they let go of negative family relationships. And, for that matter, Marilyn and I did that with some of our relatives years back -- and I couldn't even tell you how to contact them, because we don't know where they are anymore.)
In Sue's case, she and her daughter and granddaughter (my niece and grandniece) have lived together for well over a decade very successfully. They are a close family unit. None of them are perfect (who is?). But they all have worthwhile qualities.
And we're all capable of positive change, I do believe that.
Starting with open communication, maybe they can agree on some changes that would make all of them happier.
If it doesn't work out and they just can't stay together, Marilyn and I have another idea for Sue that might solve things. It's a bit extreme, but it's nice to have options, anyway.
Right now I'm trying to STAY CALM and be here for Sue. Her blood pressure is elevated and she needs less upset now, not more.
She asked me if I thought she should try and talk to Candy (who is currently at work). I don't have an answer. Yes, but not while she's at work. They should talk at home. (I've already broken that 'rule' with Marilyn by talking to HER at work about all this -- and she had a big line of people waiting outside her door. And EIGHT MEETINGS today! Poor Marilyn. She also is dealing with high blood pressure...)
What's the answer? There probably isn't just one answer. And I'm not an expert by any means. And I'm too likely to see Sue's point of view (I'm trying not to say 'her side of things'). But I want to help them all.
I fall back on prayer, because I do believe it can help. Please pray for ME. And for Sue and her family. (Or send good thoughts if you're not a praying person.) I'd really appreciate it.
The holidays are often difficult. In our family Thanksgiving was frequently a very unhappy time, with lots of bickering -- the opposite of what it should be. It's hard to bring it back to the focus on feeling grateful for all we have. And remembering that even when they make us crazy, our family is something we should be thankful for... (sigh)
I also feel strongly about EXTENDED FAMILY: Those people you know who are not related, but have become family to you. Marilyn and I are blessed with many, many people we love dearly and think of as family.
I'm hopeful this 'dark' day will turn around and become a light one.