Ask Micah 5-6-11


In the line of Fire

Dear Micah,

My best friend and her husband fight all the time.  I mean fight too.  He’s shoved her against the wall and I’ve seen her throw stuff at him and I think they’ve hit each other in private.  It’s getting worse and worse.  You’d never think of these two as people who’d act like this.  They have good jobs, live in a really good neighborhood and everybody likes them.  I am their little girl’s godmother and so I feel like I should say something to them about fighting in front of her, but I don’t know what I should say.  Can you tell me what to tell them?

Concerned Friend

Dear Friend,

You should be concerned, very concerned, especially if all of this fighting takes place in front of their child.  Be warned that you may risk losing your friendship as well as your relationship with your goddaughter if her parents view your concern as interference.  Despite that risk I think you still have to try and talk to them.  The example that their fighting is likely teaching this little girl is damaging her emotional wellness.  She is growing up in an environment where husbands and wives scream at each other, throw things at each other, and hit each other.  Guess what kind of marriage she’s going to have when she grows up?  Your goddaughter is probably going to be drawn to someone who is abusive and then they will carry on this same behavior in front of their own children and keep the cycle going.  There are too many negative ramifications to her future life for you to remain silent.  Besides what the future holds, her current life must be hellish because she is living in a hostile and unsafe environment.  If these two “adults” are losing their cool with each other, then they are probably losing it with their child as well.  Even if they aren’t, her home life is fractured.  Imagine what her emotional state must be like.  If she clings to her mother, she angers Dad.  If she clings to Dad, she angers Mom.  If something goes wrong at school she doesn’t have a stable home life to lean on for support.  She will probably grow up without many friends because she’ll be too embarrassed to have them in her home  for fear that Mom and Dad will get into it in front of them.  Most likely her few friends will also be social misfits whose home lives are likely similar to her own.  These kids will rebel and release their hostilities together, maybe turning towards drugs or alcohol or sex to numb the pain and fill the voids left by growing up unhappily.  When it comes time to date, she’ll fall for the first person that promises to take her away from her dysfunctional home, and most likely she’ll just begin one of her own.  You asked how to broach the subject with your friend…start with what this constant turmoil is doing to their little girl and her future.  You could also point out that this situation isn’t too healthy for the adults involved either.  At the very least they need to seek out couples’ counseling.  They have got to learn how to live with one another without pressing the wrong buttons that set each other off.  It’s either that or these two need to separate and start over on their own.  You seemed surprised that this couple has these issues because they have good jobs, live well, and are well liked, but not every toxic couple looks like they just stepped off of the set of Jerry Springer. Sometimes it’s the couple who should be the happiest that are the most unfulfilled.  Their needs aren’t your concern however; They are both old enough to look out for themselves.  This little girl, your goddaughter, is your concern.  You once promised to be there for her and to help her in times of need…the time has come.  Get in there and try to save her future and self worth.

Mama’s Boy

Dear Micah,

My brother is almost 30 and still lives at home with our mom.  He works so it’s not that he’s sponging off of her.  I still don’t think it’s right though.  He spends all of his time with Mom and doesn’t have a lot of friends.  He never dates any women because all of his time is spent doing things with Mom and what woman wants a man that lives at home with mommy?  I tried setting him up with a co-worker of mine, but that didn’t work out.  She told me he was awkward and couldn’t relate to anything she found interesting.  That’s because he spends all of his time with a 55 year old woman.  I tried to tell Mom to persuade him to move out but she loves his being there.  He’s a companion for her.  So I don’t know what I should do or if I should just stop fixating on this.  But it bothers me to see them always together like that.  It’s not normal.  What do you think about it?

April

Dear April,

I don’t know any of you personally so my assumptions may be wrong and you may not agree, but here it goes, my opinion…

I think your brother might be gay and finding it easier to cling to mom and avoid having to tell the world.  I don’t know what your family’s views are on gay people, but perhaps he doesn’t feel like he can safely come out of the closet without losing everyone he cares about;  And so he remains a perpetual child living with mom and using the fact that he takes care of her as an excuse as to why he doesn’t have a wife or children at this stage in life.  If this is true and he is gay, he needs to learn to accept himself and allow himself to be who he really is before his life passes him by.  He shouldn’t have to spend his life cloaked in fear that no one is going to love him if he tells the truth.  Now if you are absolutely certain that your brother isn’t gay–then you are going to have to discover what has occurred that has made him retreat from life.  Obviously he is afraid of people and ill-at-ease around them, most especially women.  He has surrounded himself with the protective shield of home and there must be a reason for that.  Something has made him feel like he’ll be rejected if he puts his emotions out there.  Maybe he’s had a childhood trauma that still haunts him.  Maybe he had his heart crushed in secret by someone you don’t know about and that’s made him give up on life and love.  Or it could be as simple as your brother isn’t good looking and he has no opportunities.  As for your Mom, she is retreating from life too.  55 isn’t old.  She could be out there dating and doing things with friends herself.  She is equally using her son as a reason to disengage from the world.  It may look sweet to the world that a mother and son are inseparable, but in reality together they have a very dysfunctional relationship and they are both enabling the other to retreat from the world.  As for you, you are jealous of this relationship.  Their closeness excludes you.  You must feel like a third wheel inside your own family.  That must hurt your feelings, but don’t let it.  Their closeness isn’t so much about affection as it is a mutual desire to hide from everyone else.  He isn’t necessarily Mommy’s favorite child.  He’s Mommy’s shield.  Your job is to find out what they are both hiding from and why they have both given up on a future with other people.  Once they aren’t afraid to rejoin the world, they will pull away in separate directions.

Just My Observation

Dear Readers,

This last one isn’t a question so much as it is an observation.  We all know about the horrific tornados that passed through our state last week.  Some of us were hit harder than others and some of us know someone who lost everything, perhaps even their life.  I grew up in Tuscaloosa and went down there the other day to check on my family and friends.  If you haven’t been down there, let me tell you the devastation is awful.  It is mind blowing to imagine what the people down there went through.  I am sure it is the same in Cullman, Pleasant Grove, Pratt City and all of the other areas of our state that were hit.  But the thing that has amazed me most during the aftermath of the storms, has been the generosity and compassion of the people.  As I was driving through Birmingham to get to the interstate to start towards Tuscaloosa, I passed two locations where Alabamians were dropping off supplies for tornado victims.  When I entered Tuscaloosa I saw a half dozen tents and shelters where supplies were being distributed to people who needed them;  Things like water, batteries, blankets, tarps, food, diapers, formula…so many items.  Scattered all around Tuscaloosa were relief shelters wanting only to help those in need.  I can only speak about what I saw in Tuscaloosa because that is the only affected city where I have loved ones, but I feel safe in saying that most likely the same thing can be found in all of the other damaged parts of our state.  I not only saw supply tents organized by citizens, but I also saw a Duracell tent supplying free batteries to those who needed them, and I saw a huge tent from Tide laundry detergent.  Tide had set up row after row of washer and dryer units so that tornado victims could wash and dry their clothes for free.  I have never seen a tent like that before.  I also saw an array of people from all over the state coming into town with chain saws to help people remove trees from their roads and homes.  Facebook was covered with people volunteering to come to the affected cities and help clean up, bring supplies, or get people out.  I was so proud of the people of our state.  So often we only see the idiot who cut us off on the interstate, or the fool who runs through the red light and almost hits us, or the moron who parks crookedly and takes up two parking spaces.  We don’t often get to see the good side of people.  I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel just a little bit safer knowing that if I am ever in a time of great tragedy, someone I don’t even know will probably come to my aid.  It won’t matter that they don’t know me.  All they’ll need to know is that I am a fellow human being–their neighbor–and that’s all it will take for them to reach out.  This tragic time in our state’s history has caused a great deal of pain and loss for a great many people–but from its rubble there is also a huge lesson of hope and faith in the human spirit.  It’s just my opinion, but it was only after the horrors of the tornados when all of us were worried for one another and trying to help each other in any way that we could–that I actually felt that this was “Alabama the Beautiful”.

3 Responses to “Ask Micah 5-6-11”

  1. Jackie Hale says:

    Well said, Micah. Glad to know you 🙂

  2. alice cork says:

    thank u for helping through tis trama. i have personaly been destroyed by a tornado. God bless all who cares!!! He is faithful n true!!!! God Bless Us!!!!!!

  3. alice cork says:

    thank u for all that has been done. we have been hit before. GOD BLESS all who has helped!!!!! love u all!!!

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