A reader writes concerning the outcome of her decision to take action with the family SJW:
I wrote to you a little while ago, detailing some of the pain and agony my SJW sibling had put our family thru in the last year, and you advised us to dump her, saying that it wasn’t worth it. So we had dumped her locally recently, holding family events just with our adult children and grandchildren, and they’ve been delightful and relaxing.
But I was concerned about when my elderly parents return from [REDACTED] this spring and felt we’d have to go back to the SJW abuse for their sake. I’ve been thinking since your note, and had a talk with my dad this week, and we reviewed the history with sibling, including my family’s behavior (which my dad feels has been pretty exemplary), and he pretty cheerfully agreed that our family should do things separately from sibling at this point.
He’s at a loss, because he says SJW never listens to anything he tries to tell her, and hasn’t for years, but he also doesn’t believe that we should be treated so badly, including our adult children. I wish she could get a different perspective that values family over politics, but she has a history of bad decision making, and I am just really relieved that we can look forward to a summer that is positive and relaxing when my parents return, that we won’t be baited, ambushed, sabotaged or abused at my parents’ home, and that my parents see the situation and appreciate what we’ve been through with her. Anyway, thanks so much for your straightforward advice and encouragement.
I don’t take the idea of excising a family member, or an entire branch of the family, from one’s life lightly. But it is precisely because family is so important that it is vital to excise serial bad actors from the family without regret, because they have a reliably destructive effect on everyone in the family.
If a family member makes it clear that they have no interest in maintaining familial harmony, or simply refuses to behave in a civil manner, then one should not hesitate to leave them to their priorities and exclude them from family activities. They have already made their choice, one is simply honoring it and permitting them to experience its consequences.
The prodigal son would not have learned from his experience had his father not permitted him to reach rock bottom and repent. Enabling an abusive family member is not helping them, to the contrary, it is complicity in their abuse.
Please note that that notwithstanding this singular email exchange, I am not beginning a career as an advice columnist. Since I am not an advice columnist, I simply ignore the vast majority of emails sent to me seeking advice. I do macro, not micro, and to the extent that I ever offer micro advice, it tends to be considerably more brutal and succinct than you are likely to be seeking.