Here is a list of some things I now realize I should have learned earlier in my life that may (or may not) have helped this year get off to a better start...
When two family members (parents, adult children, adult siblings) are not getting along, DO NOT:
- Listen to anything either of them has to say about the other one as this will be construed as taking sides with the other one by each of them - no matter which one you are listening to at the time.
- Try to get each of them to see the other one's side as this will be construed as taking sides with the other one by each of them - no matter which one you are talking to at the time.
- Try to figure out for yourself WTF is going on (because, are they listening to themselves when they talk???)
When two family members are not getting along, DO:
- Stay far far away.
- Understand that no matter what you do (including talking, thinking, making faces, coughing, sneezing, smiling, laughing, or nothing at all) will be construed as taking sides with the other one by each of them - no matter which one you are doing this around at the time.
In preparation for the point in time (because it will come) when two people you love with all your heart decide to not like each other and you end up the middle...
- Maintain a spreadsheet that you created at the point when the first contender came into your life (at your birth when the contenders are your parents or your parents vs your siblings; their birth when the contenders are your kids). Each contender needs a tab on this spreadsheet on which you track everything you ever did for said contender including date, monetary value, level of emotional support. Because, when anyone of the contenders decide to accuse you of having done so much more for the other contender than you have for them, the line "I do not keep tabs, I do for each of you what I believe you need at the time" does not fly. Tabs are required.
- Realize early on that there is an epic fail in the works. There will be no winners and you will be the biggest loser.