This is my second time writing this post. The first attempt was verbose. Apparently I have opened Pandora's box and well, I should have seen it coming but I let my pride get the better of me. I have been guilty of this particular offense in the past.
I have a cousin who, on Facebook of all places, informed me that she doesn't think I am paying enough attention to her. And because she can think of nothing she could possibly have done wrong (I can name a dozen, one is exponentially more offensive than the rest, but I chose to deal with it moderately long ago and so my chance has come and gone) is therefore deserving and entitled to my attention. Now, maybe I should be flattered because my attention is of value to her. If I thought this was in anyway about her wishing to have more involvement in my life because she values my friendship, I would indeed be flattered. I know better though. This is simply a woman who has gotten just about anything she has wanted and when she hasn't, regardless of the reason, proceeds to terrorize the object of her interest until a) the desired result is achieved or b) she loses interest.
After reading the message that all but demands I pay her more attention because she deserves it, I responded. Did I respond without thinking? Oh no, I thought very hard about exactly how I would tell her she can take her self-importance and shove it up her ass. I just didn't think about the repercussions. If you can believe this, she called my mother to ask what my problem was? After informing the world of Facebook that she "IS FUCKING PISSED!"
Aside from conducting herself in an unbelievably immature fashion (I know, I'm the last one who should be spouting off about maturity at this particular moment, pot calling the kettle black and all that jazz), her tirade begs the question: Why do we feel obligated to our relations? Does being a product of the same gene pool entitle a person to a limitless supply of your time, an unearned respect? I think not.
Let's just say you meet a person on the street, at a friends party, or a work event and find them to be absolutely insufferable, not at all the type of person you would befriend. Perhaps you are even revolted by this person, their actions are offensive in your opinion. After you have definitively decided you dislike this person, you discover they are a long lost relation.
Regardless of what relation, brother, mother, son, cousin, aunt, or grandparent, they all hold the same weight for the sake of argument. Would you revisit your original assessment of their character? Would you completely renege your opinion in the name of family? Would you even go so far as to back peddle and find endearing qualities and valuable characteristics? This person is still a complete stranger and minutes ago repulsed you. Doesn't this make you a hypocrite?
Why then, do we afford our relations this luxury? Anyone with a healthy sense of self-respect would end a relationship for acts far less offensive than those we allow our family to commit against us. But we endure unspeakable behaviour and excuse displays of disrespect. We forgive and forget in the name of family. We write numerous blank cheques, give away get out of jail free cards hand over fist as long as the recipients are related.
I realize the topic is not nearly as black and white as I have made it here. I understand there is a vast grey area. For my part, I am done swimming in the ocean of grey, searching for or being given another reason to tolerate an event or abuse at the hands of a family member. Other than sharing an ancestry, we may very well have nothing in common. If the only thing you have given me is the opportunity to make excuses for your behaviour, than I owe you nothing. I don't care how thick blood is.
Believe it or not, the first one was building up to be much, much longer.