And has a new phone number it seems. Grrrr, damn it family when I don’t return your calls there’s a REASON. And the reason is not that I am setting up a new Krypton Factor Challenge and you are not in a time contest to see if you can make me pick up the phone/answer the door when you call whether I want to or not.
Anyway he called me and was nice and polite *shock* because of course he has a problem. A legal problem. And he needs to talk to a lawyer. And, wouldn’t you know, he has a nephew whose a lawyer. Yes, that would be me.
What is the etiquette of telling a relative to go fuck himself when he asks for freebies after, well, years of treating you like shit that has escalated in recent months to a familial war that threatens to cut you off from the majority of your kind?
I have to admit I had a lot of wrestling on this one. My instinct is to help family and it is something that is drilled into us from a very young age in this outlandishly huge clan. When family calls you help. If you hate them, you help. It doesn’t matter what relationship you have, it doesn’t matter what your history is, it doesn’t matter – if it’s family and you can help you help.
But Uncle Fail has not treated me like family. His treatment is dehumanising and his actions and my refusal to tolerate them have lead to a knock on effect that may end up with my being severed from vast branches of my family – if not all of them. Surely, a lot of that is them as much as it is him, and even me in refusing to back down, but a large part of it lies at his door.
Because of him and the downward spiral his actions set off, I have had less contact with my extended family in the last few months than I’ve had in the last 20 years. In fact, I’ve had less contact in this past month than I’ve had in a week usually. That huge great massive ridiculous, amusing, infuriating, fascinating mass of eccentricity that is my family has been cut off from me, because of what he set in motion and my unwillingness to tolerate his shit any more. I can’t just pretend that didn’t happen.
And, besides which, if I work on his legal problem I am going to have to spend more time with him, a lot more time. He has never, in all the years since he was told I was gay, being able to refrain from homophobia. Never. And that has included when I have helped him before. I have no reason to believe he would stop now. I have no reason to believe he could stop now, for that matter. And I certainly have no reason to believe he sees a need to stop now.
I am not healthy. I’m learning ways to deal with the do-not-wantness but it’s avoidance and making space for it and allowing windows for collapsing and putting it off – it’s not actually DEALING with it. And the little dealing I am doing is leaving me more fragile, not less.
To work with him would expose me to more triggers, more fail, more pain and more risk of my irritatingly broken mind shattering rather messily.
I don’t owe him that risk and I don’t owe him help and I don’t owe him having to endure his crap.
I’m not doing it. The man is rich enough to hire his own lawyer – he’s rich enough to hire his own squad of lawyers. He doesn’t need me to waste what little pro-bono time I already have on his worthless self.
And so I told him – though I was polite. I got a snarky comment back about how I refuse to help anyone who won’t “validate” my “lifestyle” and then I hung up. (He NEARLY got through a whole conversation without homophobia, nearly!)
Countdown to family explosion, screaming meemies and general hysteria over my refusal to help in 10… 9…. 8… Ooops, I seem to have turned my phone off.
And I think this calls for an early day. Work owes me, it’s Friday (have I ever mentioned that if you want a quick judgement, arrange it for a Friday? The legal profession does not do Friday afternoons if we can avoid it ;P) and I have a horrible feeling I’m going to have my own screaming meemies and doing that in the office is unprofessional. Especially if you’ve already done it Once… twice… yeah some times this week.