Handling anger and conflict is something we as individuals all deal with. A comment here or a remark there, can escalate a situation in the blink of an eye. At times, some instances go beyond the boundaries of what is considered is acceptable or proper for the situation. People get spiteful and vindictive. Any little thing can set us off.
This is also true when we receive advice or criticism. Not everyone takes it well or reacts the same way. In fact, due to our unique personalities and experiences, everyone does react differently to any given situation. As well as the choices that we make every day.
But what if it doesn’t come at us directly? What if aimed at someone close to us? Whom we care about deeply enough to make sacrifices for to lend a hand when and where it’s needed? Is it okay to take the insult that is directed at that person as a personal insult against us?
I have a feeling you may say “yes.” It’s almost second nature to come in defense of someone you love as a member of your family. Any insult paid to them is an insult paid to you through association and consideration. Any conflict that arises drags you in and places you in the same quandary as the individual taking the brunt of it.
If the situation grows beyond the boundaries of controllable to hostile, you would get involved, right?
The questions now are: How do we go about processing and adapting? Do we lash out? Try to control the flow of negativity on our own? Or involve the proper authorities?
I suspect it depends on the situation at hand. I have a situation in mind to focus on for this post.
In an earlier post, I introduced my current household to everyone. Seven people sharing a four-bedroom apartment, three adults and four children. We moved into the apartment on March 2nd, a day later than originally planned. Our original target was March 1st, when the apartment was to be ready for us. Robert and Terrance, the maintenance men working to get everything finished, were already at the apartment, rushing to get the finishing touches completed.
A minor setback had them behind schedule. This didn’t bother us. A major setback had us behind schedule. It all worked out.
The week of the move is when it struck. A lightning bolt out of the blue. And all from a lack of communication, to avoid any conflict.
M, my friend and roommate, was living with her brother and his wife at the time. She had been there since later 2018, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. She had been kicked out of her earlier home by her roommate and lover, to whom I will refer as JB, over her two children, D and E. JB said that he couldn’t deal with or be around the two of them anymore, and he had no choice but to let her go.
Her brother, JF, came with his van and collected M, D, E and their belongings. M, D, and E began living with JF and his wife. JF and his wife live in a three-bedroom house. D and E had a shared room, JF and his wife had their own room, and M had her own room. In late January to February, M began working at KFC in our local area. Everything seemed to be going well.
Then, her babysitter decided to bolt without a word. Her younger brother, A, was her babysitter, and he didn’t contact her until later, letting her know that he couldn’t deal with D and E. This is where I became involved. D and E are the biological children of my husband, C. C and M used to be married, and thus it became necessary that we do anything we can to help.
Over the weeks that I have watched all four children, C, M and I came up with an agreement to make everything more convenient for the lot of us. To streamline the process. Get a house together. We have lived together before, while they were still separated, but it didn’t work out at that time. Too much emotional carry-over and not enough space or time to readjust.
It has been about a decade now. Our problems are resolved. We are all friends and on great terms. We all share in responsibility of watching over the children. And now D and E have their father in the picture, as it should be.
I will not lie. The atmosphere are tense. The apartment hasn’t been unpacked and arranged. Dealing with a bit of a space issue. More furniture than we can place. Boxes are still scattered here and there, but it’s better than last week. Now that we have a van.
Poor Impala. Not enough room for seven people. At a better home.
JH’s house is for sale for $110,000. Our original plan was to finance the house through a bank. It fell through. The three of us lack the following:
- Work history.
Sad, but true. I quit my job, like a child, August 2018 to begin homeschooling my children. Tired of fighting with the public school they attended and their Montessori programs. I will discuss Montessori at a later time, but it isn’t like traditional education methods. It requires self-motivation from the students to complete assignments.
C didn’t get hired until October 2018 at KFC. His original target was Burger King, but that fell through. For three months, we were dependent, living with his grandmother. What was supposed to be financial aid on our part turned out to be a burden. Hurricane Irene delayed his application process.
I went back to looking for another house. An affordable house. And found one. A foreclosure for $16,500. Four bedrooms, two or three baths, fenced in yard with room to play, and plenty of space for all. Not far from the courthouse, in the heart of town.
This plan was also a dud. The house was listed on a website that isn’t updated. The house was purchased September 2018, months ago. I was devastated! I put days into the search for a house.
We found the apartment. The listing was for three bedrooms and one bath. When I called to speak to the landlord, I discovered she had purchased it. If we could wait until March 1st, a four-bedroom apartment would be ready for us. We waited. We placed the deposit to hold the apartment, signed the lease agreement, and we were ready.
The week of the move, tired of having to deal with her relatives, we arranged to have her stay with us. We brought bare necessities, clothes, shoes, and uniforms. We went out and purchased necessities for the house. Dishes, utensils, towels, and odds and ends.
A couple of days pass and it’s Thursday. Friday, we are geared to move. Come Thursday morning, M’s phone starts pinging like crazy from message notifications. Her sister-in-law is furious. Over the course of our arranging, M has been warned that C and I are drug addicts, we are out for her inheritance, and we will leave her to fend for herself. It will not take long before we will bail on our deal.
All over money left to her after her father passed in 2018.
This isn’t the first time someone accused me of being a drug addict. One of the reasons why my children no longer attend the school with the Montessori program. Someone sent DSS our way. An unfounded venture. I worked double and swing shifts as a shift lead. Natural that I would be inattentive and flighty during a parent-teacher conference.
We aren’t desperate for money to want M’s estate for ourselves. We have everything settled to repay what she has purchased for our household needs, van included. And this is a mutual venture. She brought this to us, not the other way around. Her family doesn’t give her enough credit.
The following rules are established:
- C and I aren’t permitted into the house. On the property, yes. House, no.
- She must come after work at four without delay.
- She can’t postpone and get her belongings at a later date.
- JF and her in-law must be present.
This is all fine. Other ways around the first hurdle. The rest are agreeable. Work to their beat, not our own.
Come Friday, after stressing M out Thursday before and after work, we go over with JH, my brother-in-law, and get ready to begin. JF and his wife are both on the porch, smoking. We pull up into the driveway and wait for JH to arrive with his Jeep and trailer.
The moment JH backs his trailer into the proper driveway, JF and his wife both go into the house, locking M out and preventing her from getting her belongings. C and I stay in the car, watching M standing at the door, looking at us. She knocks on the door and speaks to her sister-in-law.
A new hitch arises. The wife demands M replace a queen-sized mattress protector that she claims D ruined. M explains what her sister-in-law means, stating that D had chocolate in his hand and a small spot has stained the cover. No bigger than a dime.
By this point, my blood is boiling. This is harassment. I don’t condone harassment of any form. It leaves a negative mark on people. M has endured enough stress the past four years to last a lifetime. She is getting back on her feet, and we all get hit by this drama.
C was livid during the text message exchange, but this situation boiled my blood. Washing machines are intended for the cleaning of more than clothing. I wash comforters, pillow cases and sheets in them all the time. Protectors are no different.
This is my example of how situations can escalate. It seems foolish that someone can enforce new rules on a person without considering the consequences beforehand. JH called the proper authorities while C and I drove to Walmart and purchased two different protectors. By the time we arrived back to JF’s house, the police unit was nowhere in sight.
All because chocolate was smudged on a mattress cover.
People need to realize choices they make affect others. Every action produces an equal and opposite reaction.
M didn’t communicate her feelings to JF or his wife. She didn’t try to explain what she was doing or why she made that decision. She made the decision not to deal with either of them directly, worried them, and it became a hostile situation. Her in-law decided to see her actions as an insult. She became upset and created controversy that was unnecessary. Both sides were on edge, and nothing good was achieved.
The move itself helped achieve the end result, true. Yet, the ending could be better. There has been no contact between JF, his wife, or M. This means that their relationship is now suffering and sinking. Business still exists between them, and that will have to wait until they can reconcile their differences.
But that is a topic for another day. In the end, it isn’t for me to say which way they go. They will have to deal with that on their own.
One can always hope.