I had only just started to say No

to family members when we started DR a year ago. At that time I thought I was the Worst Daughter Ever (and my mom even told me that to my face, for saying “no” to her). Then I learned about how that toxic relationship can often rear its ugly head within families, and once it starts a lot of times it’s headed nowhere but downhill, no matter what everyone’s intentions are. During 2012 I learned more about how that dynamic works, how family members will milk it for all its worth and even try to protect that arrangement when they start to feel it being threatened. Doesn’t matter if it “works” or not. Everyone wants to protect the status quo and they’ll fight tooth and nail to keep someone from rising above that mess, and/or changing habits to get out of that situation. I was the family Fixer and everyone wanted me to stay in that job description, regardless of how much time, money and energy it cost me. I just needed to grow a thick skin and tell folks that no, we aren’t traveling for awhile. No, it’s not our job to fix a marriage or fix the plumbing or fix a computer or fix the other hundreds of things we used to fix because we wanted to be helpful and nice. Furthermore, we aren’t going to be guilted or shamed or pressured or bribed into changing our minds, and no, this isn’t because we’re selfish, conceited, spoiled, or failures as family members. All those things were said to me during 2011/2012 (and worse) as this situation came to a head, and finally sort of passed. There is no logic to it, there are no rules to what family members will dare to say, and there’s no holds barred. Just steel yourself as best you can, stand your ground, and say “NO. I won’t do this anymore.”
Your new little life is the priority, and everyone else can take a number or take a hike. If they don’t like it, they’re grownups and they can get over it. That sounds extremely harsh, but anything less and they’ll just keep leeching from you as long as they can. That’s the lesson I learned this past year.