The Ties That Choke Us

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. Sometimes that sucks.

I am very, very fortunate on the family front for the most part. I hit the mom jackpot, my dad, who is technically my stepdad but is my “real” dad in every single sense of the word, is the bee’s knees, and my siblings and I get along splendidly. While there are a few undesirables, I acknowledge how much I lucked out on the crap shoot that is relatives. The main problem? My creepy uncle. Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone has one? There is always that one person in an extended family that is a little too touchy, a little too leery, a little too skeevy for you to be comfortable being around. This is the jerk off that would grab me and hold me down to give me birthday spankings every goddamn year, well past the time it was acceptable, as if it could ever be called acceptable. Trust, as I got older and stronger, I inflicted as much pain on him as possible in return. When I turned 18, I decided I wanted nothing to do with him any longer, and as an adult, that was my choice. Thankfully, my parents totally respected and understood my decision. Since creeper lives far enough away that he usually only visits once a year, this was easy to do, and I managed to go a decade without seeing his face. Cut to today, where my living arrangements mean the shithead is staying in my fucking house.

We moved in with Nana in January, which has been awesome. She is wonderful and loving, cooking for us and being a fount of knowledge and love. Seriously, the only downfall of the situation is that my uncle stays at her (our) house when he comes to town. Last week, he called to inform her (not ask, mind you, inform) he was coming down to visit for a week because his son would be in town. He planned on bringing his daughter, daughter-in-law, and 7- and 2 year-old grandkids. That makes a ratio of eight people to one shower. Not pleased. I let them know that if any of them had so much as a runny nose, they were not to come, as they got my grandma sick for a month the last time they were here. Surprisingly, they listened, and what showed up was my uncle, his girlfriend, and two fucking dogs. Two fucking dogs, completely unannounced. No warning. None. WHO DOES THAT?!?!? My dog is tiny and can stay in my arms for hours on end and I would NEVER take her to somebody’s house without asking first.

Look, I love animals. I love dogs. What I do not love is having a rambunctious 35 pound pit bull puppy and another 30-35 pound dog tearing around my house and yard. My dog, who weighs five pounds soaking wet, is terrified and beside herself. Instead of being able to curl up on the couch with Nana all day, I have had to drag her to work with me and find people to babysit her because I am not about to leave her home alone with those animals. Aside from her own safety, I am terrified one of them is going to knock my grandma down, since she is unsteady on her feet with no puppies around. They have already jumped up and scratched her arm open at least once (she won’t tell me if it has happened again since she knows I will lose my shit) and barreled through our screen door and broke it to pieces.

Photo of a small Yorkie laying across the back of a tan couch with a displeased look on her face
Lola is not pleased
Photo of small Yorkie perched on the shoulder of a sassy older woman wearing a yellow shit and glasses
Poor Lola will immediately jump to the highest point possible, like Nana’s shoulder, to get away from the other dogs.

This is a no win situation. It would be easy to pack a bag and go stay with other friends or family for the week. However, I am not comfortable leaving all my stuff alone with a creeper. While I have no problem making certain rules for them, such as keeping the dogs on leashes when they are around my grandma or staying the hell out of my husband’s office and recliner, the bottom line is, even though we pay rent and all the household bills, at the end of the day, it is my Nana’s house. He is her son, no matter how uncomfortable he makes everyone and how unpleasant he is to be around. She is stuck between a rock and a hard place, and she is not one for confrontation or being direct in expressing her needs. I have to constantly remind myself of this so my venting doesn’t make her feel bad, because I love her and I don’t want her to be upset.

I guess I should be thankful that this only happens once or twice a year, but I can’t be. I know I should be happy that 99% of my family is awesome, and while I am, this constant state of anger, annoyance, bitterness, and frustration is all consuming right now. So help me folks – what do you do when you are stuck in a situation you can’t get out of with family? How do you resign yourself to the misery others can inflict upon you? I am a pretty “go with the flow, it is what it is” kind of person, but on this one, I just can’t.

2 replies on “The Ties That Choke Us”

I so completely recognize the creepy uncle. Over the years I’ve just started to straight up say ‘Sod off/fuck off’ if he tries anything. And yes, the apple of my grandma’s eye as well.

But to deal with it on a longer basis ..I think I’d make very clear there are boundaries he can’t overstep without breaking your nana’s heart and be far far away for the rest of the time.

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