After an exchange with a family member yesterday, a few thoughts have been doing laps and they're wearing me out. So what better way to expel the demons than by setting them loose on the internet.
It had been a pretty good day; Grindling #1 was invited to concurrent birthday parties and they both went well and toilet training went exceptionally well, and Grindling #2 made three trips to the toilet and all three were successful. (At time of posting we have 5 out of 5!).
While out and about shuttling children to and fro, I ran an errand and bumped into the 'close relative' who has been having a tough time of things. The person in question is dealing with his fair share of personal problems and is back on his medication and counselling after a recent intervention by family and friends.
The relative has been on a number of 'benders' and has come close to getting himself put in the slammer for a variety of episodes.
He has dragged those close to him through the wringer also. Only a dedicated few remain. Left behind is a trail of lost jobs, wrecked cars, unloved animals and shattered girlfriends.
Initially very charming, he is quick to turn to emotional blackmail when things don't go his way. Conversation is a medium for one-upmanship, his tattered and bruised ego made all the more sensitive by his history of embarrassing stuff ups.
Having 'poor mental health' is one thing, but carrying a king-size chip one's shoulder at the same time makes him hard to tolerate. He was raised in an era when schools thought it important to drill students with the spirit of entitlement. He has mastered the degree of emotional blackmail to a form of recklessness that draws on people's sense of duty to pull him to safety time and time again.
The latest episode involved illegal use of a girlfriend's car while disqualified, after sculling a bottle of vodka, and the theft $400 to boot.
He has hurt people close to him in the most horrible of ways with viscous cutting remarks. He has stolen property of great sentimental value. And relies upon the goodwill of the same people he hurts to provide him with help when he gets in serious trouble.
He has been bailed out of dire circumstances so many times it's a given. Often in the wee hours of night, often requiring finances, and always calling up those who he know he comes to rely upon.
Yesterday's conversation was disturbing. He complained about people's treatment of him. He cited examples of what he believed to be conspiracies against him and exclusion by family. None were rational; at best some were minor issues of the past taken out of proportion.
Efforts to fill in the blanks were useless. I suspect the medication and other emotional baggage might explain the denial and bizarre counter arguments that ensued.
He complained about not being given free access to the house that was once his home where he has recently smashed fixtures and stolen heirlooms. He believes those locking him out are being unreasonable. Then he asked if I could say it was me who'd triggered the alarm and unplugged its power supply. (By the way, one of the stolen heirlooms worth several thousands dollars was to become property of yours truly.) I refused and dared suggest that people are treating him this way because of what he'd done.
Now I'm worried. He is likely to react in the only way he knows how.
The ingrained belief of entitlement causes him to overlook the idea that shitting in his own nest would have any bearing on him today or in the future. In his view people are being unfair when they distrust him or deny him favours. This then cycles to more reckless behaviour and drags the enduring few back into to rescue him again.
Those who have been sucked into this vortex eventually try to pull the plug on this Munchausen type relationship soon find themselves becoming the trigger for another one of his benders. Those of us who now stand on the sidelines are left wanting to help while being described to the uninitiated as uncaring and heartless.
He could benefit from a few life lessons like; 'you make your own luck' and 'the world is not a fair place, so what'. Sadly the culmination of bruised ego and emotional blackmail appears to prevent any of these lessons being learnt.
Blood might be thicker than water, but there are limits. I find myself thinking of how it might end. At one stage about 5 years ago he was doing really well controlling his temper. His life was coming together; he'd built a house, had a good job and was engaged to be married. The closeness of his fiancé's parents drove him to a violent outburst which left her with a broken eardrum. Since then the frequency of outbursts has escalated.
The self-destruction is proving a liability for a family that isn't currently on its strongest foundation. Entrusted knowledge is being used to play off relatives against each other in a pursuit he finds genuine thanks to his deluded state. Never mind the financial costs.
It upsets me equally watching the distress of those engulfed in the situation. I wish the problem would go away, while I know it wont.
I must walk away.