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I am not sure how to handle this family...


K___, on her own decided she was not going to live with her boyfriend and came home after one week. She is extremely defiant though and stayed home one evening, staying at her sisters for two. She is now staying with her sister because her father and she got into an argument when she didn't call him as he had requested her to. He approached her with anger. I believe his family for the past 16 years has been extremely dysfunctional and now he lives with me. I approach things AFTER I get over the anger or emotions I am feeling. Probably because I grew up with a mother who was emotionally abusive to all three children and said a lot of things she really didn't mean, but caused all kinds of havoc by saying them.

I told P___ after he hung up from yelling and swearing at K___ over the phone that he hadn't accomplished a thing by doing that. He, of course was offended, and slept on the couch. The next day he thought about what I said and while not being angry, thought about the situation and how he had handled it and agreed it wasn't the best way to handle it. He called K___ and apologized. I explained to him we had taken two steps backwards by his actions. K___ isn't calling or coming home; she is staying with her sister. Her sister will most likely allow her to stay with her because she had gone through a lot of trauma with their mother and father.

Once again… I am not sure how to handle this family and their ways of dealing with things. Do you have any suggestions Mark?

P___'s parents both died when he was a teenager, and he and his six brothers and sisters were raised by an Aunt and Uncle. I think he has a lot of anger over that. He is a wonderful father though. He is the one who makes the kids lunches, takes them to school, shows up for school functions, takes them where they need to go for sports. His ex works, works late, and puts him down for his parenting skills while she is doing nothing for her children. She doesn't even cook them dinner because she's always working.

I need suggestions on how to deal with this, I am stumped. Thank you for your emails. I appreciate them.



Hi A.,

I notice 2 very important positives here: (1) P___ gained some insight into how he approached K___ (i.e., seeing that it resulted in nothing positive), and (2) he made amends with K___.

Too often, the female caretaker of the house spends a great deal of time and energy trying to fix everybody and their problems. This is noble and done with good intention; however, it is also an exercise in futility.

I would suggest that you focus on taking care of you -- first! Then focus on taking care of YOUR relationships with family members. But, draw the line when it comes to solving other's problems or worrying about how they treat one another. Don't take responsibility for their relationships with one another. No more playing "peace-maker". Their problems are their problems. The quality of their relationships is their responsibility.


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