That just can’t get it together. In some families it’s that uncle that just can’t keep a job. It’s always the “man” keeping him down. He has no real goals in life and at 50 years old he still lives at home with his mother. He’s the uncle you call when you need a paint job for cheap, or he’s the uncle who calls you when he needs to borrow $10. Or, it’s the sister that’s on her third baby-daddy. Is more concerned with going to a party, than she is the welfare of her children. The antics offered by these family members always keeps the dynamics interesting.

There’s the German proverb, “blood is thicker than water”, but what happens when those family members rather turn to being dependent than self-sufficient? No one wants to leave a family member hanging, at least not in my family. My immediate family will go out of their way to help one another, but they will also cut you off if they feel that you’re taking advantage of them. When the cut-off comes, it’s definitely not easy to get back into good graces.

Encouraging dependent family members isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Some people are so stuck in their ways and usually find it easier to leech off the hard work of others. Occasionally, tough love could be the answer the answer. I remember one instance in particular when I was around nineteen, my mother showed me her version of tough love and it definitely snapped me out of my moment of dependency. It was definitely a rude awakening and something that changed me for the better.

Tough love isn’t the easiest thing to show a family member but sometimes it’s a necessity. How tough love is perceived is a different story. Regardless of the good intentions behind it, occasionally it can be perceived as something negative, but you can only hope in the long run that the person recognizes that it wasn’t.

Have you experienced the dependent family member? How did you handle the situation?

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