This is long, but please read it all. If you have ever had a toxic relationship that is causing you pain and suffering, this blog post may help you. It’s OK to say NO to people. Boundaries are a good thing. The only ones who will say boundaries are bad will be those who want you to do everything for them.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11, from The Message) Jesus
I have been having a conversation with a close friend of mine about enabling someone. I guess she figured I would know about this subject since I have had the hardest time saying no to someone. This is going to be a series of blog posts because it will turn into a book otherwise. But mainly because I want to focus on different things without boring everyone.
I’m the kind of person who would do just about anything for someone, even if it meant that I will be doing without. There is a huge misconception when it comes to helping those who are in need. I am a Christian and I strive to be more like Christ. When it comes to helping those in need, I always thought that I should help them. It took me a long time to get to the point where I realized I got it all wrong.
While I was talking about the word “no” to my friend, she felt that she had to say yes to anyone who asks for something. She feels like she is a bad person and a complete failure because she can’t do it all.
About 10 or 5 years ago when my mom was still alive, she would constantly tell me that I have to let my brother or oldest sister because they need the help. With my brother, she used my faith as a manipulating tool. I don’t like even talking about these kinds of things since she is no longer with us and she can’t defend herself.
My mom called me up and told me that I’m a terrible and not a real Christian since I told her that I won’t let my brother live with me. He was hiding out because he got served papers from his ex-wife or the state of California for child support. I didn’t realize at the time why he even needed to find a place to live. My mom didn’t say why. It was my brother who told me after he was here a couple of months. Since she used my faith as a tool to get me to comply and do what she wanted me to do, I began thinking I wasn’t being the person God wanted me to be.
Everyday I was being told that I’m not a good person or a Christian. Even after allowing him to come live with me and my husband. I caved in and the words she embedded into my heart and mind began eating at my world. When you are told every day that you are a terrible Christian and that I had a holier than thou attitude when it came to my brother and other family members, you start believing it.
I think Pastor Ellis Keck was the pastor at my church at the time. At least I think he was. It was such a long time ago. Anyhow. I went over to his house because I was way upset. I had the key to our church and I found myself going there at night and sitting in the darkened sanctuary. I was having a tremendous amount of guilt.
One of the nights, Ellis met me there. I just really needed to talk about this. My brother was living with us for a very short time at this point. Pastor Ellis was about to retire and I was upset over that. Ellis just had something special about him.
Ellis told me that I have the wrong idea when it comes to being Christlike. It isn’t our responsibility to do everything for those in need. He knew that my brother was bad news and so did anyone who met him. Pastor Keck shared a bit about his own relationship with his older sister, whom he had to cut out of his life due to the toxicity of her choices.
I had a different perspective on how I can’t keep trying to help someone who isn’t willing to change. In their opinion they don’t feel as if they need to change. I had a great deal of anger towards my mom because of her willingness to put the needs of my brother over my needs. For some reason she has always felt as if she needed to hide him out, lie to others about what he did and where he was. After Talking to Pastor Keck, I realized that my anger is misdirected. Even though she kept pushing me to talk him in, I allowed her to manipulate me. I could have said no, but I chose to let him stay with us.
Things started catching up with my brother. I didn’t realize what he was doing. I convinced myself that I was saving him. I was being the good Christian because I turned the other cheek more than the 70×7’s. I was in a state of denial since I thought I was the one who was saving him and protecting him like a big sister should be doing. I was so very wrong on so many levels.
I knew that something was going on when my mom called me out of the blue asking me if I could give my brother some money to get back to Elfrida, AZ. This was the first time I heard about his plans to move back down to where my mom and dad lived. To say I was confused was an understatement. My mom and brother convinced me that he was needed down there to help my dad because my dad had a stroke(that was a lie). I told my mom that I didn’t have any money to get him a bus ticket. So, she paid for the ticket and had him pick it up at the bus station.
I’m not sure if anyone reading post has someone like my brother in their life. My friend that I was talking to was discussing how she has people in her life that uses drugs and will steal them in order to make extra money and to feed her friends habit. She had a habit of keeping these toxic people in her life, even though it is destroying her marriage and her relationship with her family and her children. She has a brother like mine. When I told her how my brother caused an abundance of drama because of his lying and a process called “divide and conquer”.
If you don’t know what that means, it is basically where my brother would keep people separated. He didn’t want them talking to each other or all of the lies would come to a head. I told my friend some of the things my brother did and how my mom covered up things for him. She even kept my dad in the dark. My dad has a great deal of anger towards my mom even though she died because of the things she did for him. I had to really think twice on if I was going to share this or not. I will make sure that certain family members on my Facebook page won’t see this out of respect for my dad. Before my mom died, she and I had some long talks and she apologized. I told her that I love her very much and that is true. She was a new person before she died. She carried so much guilt, but we didn’t focus on that since she was on hospice for cancer.
When my friend asked me how I was able to cope after my brother left and did all the things he did, I told her it wasn’t easy because I still loved him. But, I did have to stop taking phone calls from him. I also have it where he can’t access my Facebook page because I don’t want him hurting anyone else. One of the many reasons why he left town so fast is because his girlfriend was pregnant and in the hospital. He told her that he had a vasectomy and he lied to her and put her life at risk since she was told that if she got pregnant, she could die. He isn’t allowed to view anything on my page because his ex girl friend and her son, my nephew is on my page.
I told my friend that you can’t change a person and do everything for someone unless they want to change. My friend is a basket case because she can’t do it all. I told her I will be doing a blog series on this and hopefully it helps. She has called me daily or sends me messages about how she just can’t do it anymore. She is frustrated over not being able to do it all. I told her that if she isn’t careful the frustrations she has can easily lead to feelings of guilt because she can’t figure out how to help them in the way she wants.
I asked her if those who are demanding so much of her time have family members who can help them. When she told me that they do have a big circle of family and friends. When I asked her about contacting her friends children, spouse, church family or others that knows her, she said that she was told that her family doesn’t care. They have washed their hands of her friend. My friends friend told her that it would be best to not contact or ask her family for help. That brought up some major red flags. I can’t go into all of the excuses my friend was told as to why she can’t call any of her friends family.
I did go into a lot of detail with my friend over my brother and how it is dangerous to not check things out. I had to really pray and think about what I’m about to share, but I do think it is important to share the dangers and destruction of lies. So, these are some of the things my brother did and my mom hid from me and my family.
- His ex-wife is trying to steal all of his money to pay for a child that isn’t his. The truth is that the little boy was abandoned by my brother while he was on machines and my brother left them.
- He is cashing in his 401K and will be able to repay everything that my husband and I paid and what he borrowed from us. He was suppose to get close to $100,000 and even produced a forged check to make it look legit.
- He told a gentleman about the 401K money and was able to convince him to sell him a truck and even convinced him to give him the title free and clear.
- With his girl friend, he said he had a vasectomy, instead she almost died due to blood clots in her lungs and she was basically confined to bed for the entire time. She is also diabetic. Thankfully her son turned out awesome. He knows that I am his aunt.
- He also told his ex-girlfriend that he is buying a house in a nice area. He went as far as contact a realtor and had a contract signed. My brother showed her the contract and gave her the date to have her children pulled from school and to enroll them into the new school. She pulled them out of school when the supposedly closing date came closer. He left before that date. After he left, I actually found the contract that he signed for this house.
- She trusted him so much that she let him move in with her since he told her that I was about to loose our house because I didn’t pay all of the bills and our power was being turned off and he can’t afford to keep giving me money. He was worried that my husband would divorce me because I spent all of the bill money on drinking and partying lol.
- He also told her that the house we lived in was really his and he allowed us to live there. She didn’t really talk to me about anything since he told her that I didn’t like her and that I was mentally off upstairs. So, we had no one on one talking time.
- He also supposedly bought all of the furniture in our house. It wasn’t until he left town that I found out most of this.
- Since he was so trustworthy, his ex-girlfriend was fine with him paying the bills for her. She gave him the money she earned at her work. He said he would make sure the rent was paid and the car payment was paid. She ended up getting her car repo’d and was almost evicted from her home.
- He told me that she was in the hospital for a mental breakdown and while she was in the hospital, he as living in her apartment. What actually happened is that yes she was in the hospital and she has depression. But, all of the things he did to her and the lies caused her a great deal of anxiety. She even had it where he wasn’t allowed to visit her. I didn’t visit her and I don’t think she wanted me to since she thought I hated her and she didn’t know.
- He arranged to buy a brand new Lincoln Navigator and gave them a check that was stolen from my dad. The check was written on a closed account. My mom knew about this and I don’t know if my dad did.
- After he left, I went through the room he was staying at and I was so upset when I seen all of the schemes and what he told others about me, my husband, my kids, his ex girlfriend and her kids. A good pastor friend came over to my house and used the term, ‘Satan Encarnant”. That pretty much summed it up. It was heartbreaking though. I still love him, I just can’t have him in my life.
- Before he left town, he arranged for the shop where he was working at to have all of the tools and equipment to be taken over to my daughters. Since he couldn’t take it on the bus, he needed to store it somewhere. My mom told me that she will arrange for someone to get it or to see if my son in laws dad would come and get it. My son in law knew something wasn’t right. So, he contacted the guy who owned the shop and found out that all of the stuff that was at my daughters house was stolen. None of it belonged to my brother. My mom was so mad at me because they wanted the equipment. Just one of the items was worth over $10,000.
- He also told everyone that my son in law beat my daughter Jessica. That did not go over well at all. My son in law never laid a hand on her. My daughter was shocked and in tears that he would say that and put them in the position like that.
After my brother left town I met with his ex girlfriend and that’s when we started putting things together. She is an awesome person who loves the Lord and loves her children. I have forgiven my brother, but I will never trust him and he will never be welcomed into my home. I did tell him that if he ever did genuinely change, we can talk about the relationship of brother and sister.
I let my friend know that there is a huge difference between helping someone and caring for them and being the person to do everything for them and carrying the burden for them. It’s important to learn how to care for someone and not let them put you in a position of causing pain. I told my friend to never let someone or Satan convince you that if you don’t do all these things for a person or family member that you aren’t loved by God. I learned this lesson by going through things with my brother and other people in my life. I told her if she is having feelings of guilt and being pushed, then pay attention to what’s happening. That isn’t from God.