"Just like grape..."
I remember watching The Karate Kid in the mid 1980s. Ralph Macchio was playing 16 year old Daniel Laruso, an east coast son of a single mother who moves to Los Angeles. Daniel was regularly beaten up by local bullies until he meets Mr. Miyagi, played by the late Pat Morita, who teaches him karate. At one point in the film, Mr. Miyagi explains to Daniel that he needs to choose to make a commitment to karate or quit. A middle of the road attitude would get him squashed, "just like grape."
I think this bit of advice works in many situations. Fence sitters who are afraid to pick a side often end up being screwed over by people with more conviction. I hate to write about my husband's toxic ex family again, but it came up last night. He was mooning over his ex daughter on Facebook and I asked him why in the world he didn't spare himself and me the agony and take a stand. Either confront her or block her, but quit allowing her to intrude and take up mental space and energy that could be used more productively elsewhere.
I, for one, wish Bill would confront his daughter. I wish he would tell her that her treatment of him was uncalled for and wrong. I wish he would tell his father and stepmother that it's hurtful to him that they apparently can't or won't hold her accountable for being cruel and hateful. He doesn't want to do it, though, because he has trouble being confrontational. It's easier for him to just continue to allow the abuse to happen. He hates having people angry with him.
If he were single, this would simply be a sad situation. He's not single, though, and he shares this stuff with me, which makes me react. I suppose I could try to choose not to react or even just tell him I don't want to hear about it. But I always end up hearing about it anyway and it never fails to piss me off. I have a lot of hostility and animosity toward Bill's family because they continue to enable abusive behavior. These issues also seem to come up at the worst possible times, too... I have lost count of how many times there's been an intrusion during the holidays and I don't want to go through the rest of my life dealing with this shit.
Bill's daughters are adults and they are entitled to live life as they see fit. If they want to disown Bill because he divorced their abusive, narcissistic mother, that's their prerogative. I just don't see why we should continue to be flogged for that hurtful decision. They have every right to bury their heads in the sand and avoid the truth. Don't we have the right not to have to be reminded of them all the time? I just wish the fence sitting would stop before we get squashed like grapes.