Dealing With Abusive, Disrespectful Family

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Dear Laura,
I am having a huge problem with my family. My family is having problems taking me seriously and respecting my boundaries. I recently gave birth a few months ago and against my expressed concerns, my relatives exposed my child to a contagious, incurable disease. When spoke up, they twisted it around and made it my fault. I think they owe me an apology, buy they keep telling me I should apologize to them. They often say mean things and try to pick fights with my husband. They act nice and invite us over and then verbally abuse us and wish harm on us and our child while we are there. They are my family but I don’t think I should be subjecting my daughter to this. Do you have any idea what I should do?
–Worried about baby in MA

Dear Worried,

This is about a whole lot more than a baby–this is about coming to terms with a selfish, manipulative and harmful family. Apology, shmology. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you have a right to take care of yourself and protect yourself from harmful situations. And as a parent, it is your primary job to protect your child from harmful situations. Period. Being spiritual does not mean that we become doormats! It’s time to take a deep breath and see your family for who they really are. Professional counseling can help support you in staying clear and strong, and to learn how to stop expecting them to change. Honey, when people show you who they are, believe them! I wish you much courage, clear strong boundaries, and plenty of joyous, healthy years of parenting ahead.