Teaching People Lessons: Is It Really Worth The Collateral Damage?


My mom died last week. We had not spoken in 7 years and were estranged. So, I won’t lie and say that we were close. This post isn’t really about her. What I want to discuss here today is how “getting one over on someone” and “teaching people lessons” hurts people. And those people are not only your intended targets.

The True Cost Of Teaching People Lessons

I was not listed in the obituary. To me, an obituary is a factual representation of someone’s life. It’s not a popularity contest. Whether we were estranged or not, I was still my mother’s daughter. So, I should have been listed. My mother’s sister was listed, though at the end of a string of “special” sisters who are not, in fact, her sisters. And my mother’s sisters and brothers {4 of them} who passed before her were not even mentioned at all. Not even one word.

How confusing is that to people reading an obituary online or in print, trying to decide whether they know this person or not? “Well, I thought she was this person’s sister…”

I am not sure whether this was my mom’s final jab at people she worked so hard at jabbing when she was alive or the decision of people who set up the funeral. Either way, my mom was deceased when the obituary went to paper, so there were people who could have made it right before it was made public. And they chose not to.

I assume the targets of this were me and my aunt {my mom’s sister}. And it did hurt me, at first, so good for whomever is responsible. Then I reminded myself that this is how I expect to be treated by this family and I moved on. However, it hurt a lot of other people like my grandmother who was saddened to read the obituary that didn’t even mention her previously deceased children. She just lost another child. Was there some kind of lesson she “needed to be taught,” too, by suffering through the deaths of 5 out of 6 children?

Someone’s random roommate was mentioned as a “special son,” but my grandmother’s previously deceased children were completely overlooked. I have a hard time believing that this was the sole work of my mother. I choose to think she didn’t spend her time on her death bed thinking about new ways to “teach people lessons,” but who knows. If she did, the person or people who sent the obituary in after she died are not guilt free.

There was also a request for cash at the end. Not flowers. Not donations to a a charity of the deceased’s choice. Cash. That was made a priority.

But not one word about mom’s previously deceased siblings.

I Choose To Be Happy

What I am trying to say is that when you spend your whole life trying to hurt people and “teach people lessons,” you often cause a lot of collateral damage. I believe that we pay for our sins when we die. I try to make things right with people. But sometimes you just can’t and you need to cut ties and move on. Why? Because I choose to be happy. Being around certain types of people will never create happiness. And revenge certainly does not equal happiness. I realize it’s not my place to “teach people lessons.” Just because you are in a position to hurt someone doesn’t mean you should. A better person walks away. I wish others would realize that, too, if for no other reason than to stop hurting innocent victims.


Update: Here’s Where The “Drama” Starts

Earlier this afternoon, my daughter had a private conversation with one of my sisters. So she and my other sister took to the phone tree calling everyone they know, spewing their one sided account of things about how they have been “wronged,” to people who, of course, aren’t critical thinkers enough to fact check before believing the one, embellished side they have heard. They announced all over Facebook about how people are “starting drama,” and made sure to let everyone know they have been “victimized.” Though, not one person has said anything publicly about this {until now} even after at least 5-10 cryptic “drama” {attention-seeking} status updates over the past few days have been posted on at least one of my sister’s accounts.

It’s sad. I wonder how many people felt those messages were directed towards them? From my understanding, they are now fighting with several people, so I guess they finally got the “drama” they kept talking about. Out of context pieces of private conversations between two people have now become public domain to make it a “fair” fight. Because the whole internet ganging up against one or a few is fair, right? No, that is cyber bullying. How dare someone have a different opinion! Yes, this is just another way to “teach someone a lesson.” What happened to two people talking {or arguing} something out? That is a concept that certain members of my family can’t seems to grasp. Every fight has to be stacked and every person who doesn’t agree is “starting drama.”

Here are screenshots of one of my sisters, a 30some year old woman, threatening my 18 year old daughter over a private conversation she had with my other sister. Several people were tagged in it so it was on several Facebook pages. I have whited out the names and the picture only.

Here are screenshots of one of my sisters, a 30some year old woman, threatening my daughter over a private conversation she had with my other sister. Several people were tagged in it so it was on several Facebook pages. I have whited out the names and the picture only.

I guess my mom’s previously deceased siblings were not mentioned since they weren’t “there for her?” Sheesh.

One of my sisters has now threatened on Facebook to “knock a b*tch out” directed towards my daughter. Why? Because she voiced an opinion, privately. Wow. A 30 some year old threatening an 18 year old. Classy. Like I said, there is no discussion with these two. It’s gang mentality or threats of physical violence. This is where I draw the line. Threats of physical violence will no longer be tolerated or condoned. It’s been screenshot and reported to Facebook and I will be reporting elsewhere tomorrow. I am done with this.

Tonight, my daughter and I went out to eat. We worked on the blog. She worked on homework. We watched Being Mary Jane. We had a good night and I had a total of two phone conversations tonight. We did not spend our night calling every family member we know to gossip. If people choose to make up their minds after hearing one side of a story, that’s both good and sad for them. I have more interesting things to do and more interesting people to talk to.

This is just more proof that cutting ties with select members of this family was the absolute right decision.

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn is a full time travel and lifestyle blogger. Besides Cheap Is The New Classy, she also owns and writes for EatPlayRock.com, an entertainment site. Her interests include traveling, home decor, DIY projects, organizing her home and enjoying a nice cup of coffee {or two}. She currently resides in North Carolina with her dog, Daisy.


  1. This makes me sad to read this. I choose to be happy too and can’t imagine not treating everyone as I would like to be treated. Selfishness got in the way somewhere. I can’t understand why all relatives wouldn’t be listed either, except for someone’s selfish feelings getting in the way. Sad when you really step back and look at it like you have.

  2. This is so sad, but is the reality for so many people. It does make us all appreciate who we do have in our lives.

  3. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    First off, I am sorry about your mom even though you hadn’t spoken in a while. What a shame that you were basically omitted from her life like that in the obit. Very sad.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you Robin. She was a very abusive parent growing up. I have always been omitted, though. They never attended my high school graduation or my college graduation. They didn’t throw me a baby shower {but they did throw several for my sister} and the list goes on and on. They’ve pretty much been in my life only when I have had something to offer them. A few years ago, I wrote a letter to all of them, clearing the air. I let them know how I felt about the way I have been treated {and looked over} and told them if they could not apologize to me and do better, then they were out of my life. Of course, I received no apology or even acknowledgement of the letter – but they did call everyone they knew to let them know how I “wronged” them.

      I also let them know how each of them had been talking about each other behind their backs, as well. No matter how they want to spin it, there was no allegiance between them either. THAT is what they are all bent out of shape over. Mom was abusive growing up. They have all done dirty stuff to others and each other. But how dare I call them out on it.

      • I wish I could hug you right now. I am so sorry about all of this. How pathetic of these people. Making this all about them. What a shame. Regardless, you were her daughter and should have been mentioned. Families like this, which I’m part of one too, don’t deserve you. Or your daughter, or any attention what-so-ever. Great for you to blog about though, get others opinions and call these idiots out for real.

        I am so sorry you are dealing with this, and for someone to threaten your daughter – that would be game over for me. Huge big hugs your way. These people don’t deserve your time, so please don’t let it bother you (hard i know) that’s what they want and YOU are WAY better than that.

  4. I’m so sorry about every aspect of this. How disrespectful to omit you and then threaten your daughter. I am trying to choose to be happy also – some people make it very hard. Teaching people a lesson is generally the wrong way to go in life and just spreads negativity.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      They make it hard for you to be happy because they are not happy. Sadly, untreated or improperly treated depression and other mental disorders often cause people to behave that way.

  5. I am so sorry to hear about your mom – there are so many sad things going on there. Choosing to be happy is a powerful choice, and resisting the urge to teach a lesson is so difficult sometimes.

  6. I know that you have not spoken to your Mother in many years, but I also know that there must be sadness in your heart. The loss of anyone is hard to deal with. You made some very good points in this article and I am so glad you have chosen to be happy. I think it seems like the easy choice, but I know that it takes much more work to be happy and to not fall into the same “blaming” game that everyone else has fallen in. Take care of yourself, your daughter and your husband, that is all that matters. Thank you for sharing this personal story.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you Cynthia,

      It is definitely the hard {and unpopular} choice. People love to gossip to each other in this family – and not little stuff, but mean, heartless, cruel stories. And it’s really hard not to join in to “clear my name” when you know that a lot of what is being said is just bold faced lies. However, I know that joining in is not conducive to happiness. It just adds more fuel to the fire. There is no winning with these people and one day I realized they aren’t really worth “winning” anyway. There are a lot of fairweather friends in this family, too, always looking for the next gossip fest. I avoid them, as well.

      I just want quality, supportive people in my life who have my back and come to me personally and with maturity when there is an issue. That is all.

  7. It is a shame that people gossip and take things to Facebook. Why not take her own advice and deal with this in person… Hypocrite. And threatening Amber? There is no excuse. Not only cyber bullying, but the act of a very immature person.

    I hope both you and Amber continue to have happy days. ((hugs))

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you very much. Yeah, the Facebook “drama” is just childish attention seeking. But the threatening Amber is crossing the line.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss Dawn.

    I have awful family members too. Selfish and self-centred are the only words to describe them.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I am sorry for the family you were dealt in life, too. The funny thing is, our mom was very abusive and a massive hoarder. We always lived in filth and very rarely had even the basic necessities we needed in life. I hated it and left as soon as I could. Yet, somehow, I am the bad one. In our family, when people die, the remaining members forget how the deceased behaved in real life and think of them as saints. It’s a very bazaar way of looking at things.

      Even after all that, all I ever really wanted was a sincere apology. But even with pretty much a year’s advance notice she was dying, she found a way to deprive me {and many others} of that.

  9. I am sorry for the whole situation for you and Amber and hate that this is an article that you have to write. But on the other hand, I am glad to know that you guys are moving forward together!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you so much, Sharon. I rarely talk about them because they are rarely on my mind anymore, but this whole situation has just been so petty – to lots of people – not just me.

  10. Condolences on your mum’s passing. You are right, the eye for an eye approach seldom works.

  11. I’m sorry you’re going through this right now, and that your daughter is learning this lesson so early in life. I’m fortunate in that most of my family and I get along, but I have many friends in positions similar to you. They’ve always told me that family is not blood, but those who prove their worth to you. I hope you have plenty of “family” around you who care for you and won’t threaten young girls. Hugs.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I am lucky that I have plenty of family that are still great. My mom’s sister {the person I consider mom} is awesome and so are her daughter and son {the people I consider my sister and brother}. I also have a cousin on my dad’s side who I am close to and consider a sister as well. My husband’s family is also awesome. And, I have been blessed with many friends who I consider my family of choice. So, I am fortunate, there is no shortage of great people in my life. :)

  12. I’m sorry all of this is happening right now. I think your point of view is great, because sometimes it’s so hard to rise above. Keep doing what you’re doing… I think you’re setting a great example for your daughter!

  13. I’m sorry that you are having difficulties with your family. Not everyone is blessed with a happy loving family and it sure sounds like you’ve been hurt a lot over the years. I hope that your decisions bring you and your family some peace!

  14. It’s sad when family drama takes over but I wish you nothing but the best with moving on!

  15. Drama is not OK and I try to remove myself from it as much as I can. Saddened to hear you have to deal with this!

  16. This is just so awful and sorry you have to go through this. I can relate though. I am trying to fix my relationship with one of my son’s and my daughter. I went down a bad path in my past which was 5 years ago now. I am in end stage renal failure and ho knows how long I will live if I dont get a transplant. But I cant get them 2 to forgive me and everything. I fixed the relationship with my other 4 sons and we talk and everything now.
    I also HATE people that gossip. They just seem to make situations worse.
    I did enjoy reading your post, but not all of it. it made me feel sad.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I am so sorry to hear about your illness and your estranged relationship with your children. It sounds to me like you are sorry, though, and that is really all you can do. My mom was never sorry. That is the difference. I hope that you and your family are about to work things out.

  17. So sad to read about turmoil in families. People need to forgive and not hurt others.

  18. OMG… I can’t believe people can be that petty and mean.
    Just plain mean.
    It doesn’t matter what the relationship was or wasn’t an obituary is a factual list..not a fabricated one.
    I feel so sad for your Grandmother..what an awful stab at her.

  19. Wow, what a story. We recently had a death in the family and I thought there were too many people in the obituary. Every single relative was in there. Spouse, children, and brothers and sisters I think should be in there. Even if they’re deceased. It’s supposed to be a legal notice, not a popularity contest.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Yeah, I work in radio on an FM station, but I used to work on an AM station and we read obituaries. Some of those get really long. I have to say, though, I have never read one that was quite the fiasco as this one with all the “special” relatives and such.

  20. I am sorry about it. I am so glad you are able to see that you are better than they are. That you can take the high road. It’s always sad to have a fallout in the family. I know ours is the same way. I haven’t talked to my siblings in a LONG time. I was so upset about it, and how I felt it was wrong. Then I realized that if I kept dwelling on it, then I lost being happy. I had to come to terms with it, and just let it go. I am glad that you were able to move on.

    I think threatening Amber was so uncalled for. I do hope those that are hearing the one side, read this and see the screen shot and then think differently. I know chances are low, but even if just one does, that will mean a lot.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you, Sharon. I am sad to read about your family situation. I hope that one day there can be a resolution, but you are right. Sometimes you have to just let it go. I dwelled on it for years, way too long, but then I moved on. You can’t change people who don’t have the ability to feel empathy for others and think they have done nothing wrong.

  21. Please accept my most sincere condolences on the loss of your mother. This is a difficult time for you, and I am glad you have the support and love of you daughter to help you through this emotional roller coaster. That said, your family is about as dysfunctional as any I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot of them). I deal with people who buy flowers for a funeral. They fight over what flowers (how silly) and what colors (even sillier) but most of the fights are about dollars. Yes, money. Whomever it was that didn’t correct your mother’s obituary should be ashamed of him/herself, but ask yourself this, what was in it for him or her? I’m afraid you’ll watch as any estate is squandered by siblings fighting among themselves, and it’s the lawyers who benefit. For you, I’m glad you’re able to sit back and watch to the best of your ability, as your family self-destructs. Remember to keep your values high and your priorities right. If you can ignore the Facebook nonsense, you’ll be a much stronger lady. And remember that we, your Facebook and Blog Buddies, are here for you. Once again, I am truly sorry for your loss.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you so very much. One thing I definitely don’t understand is what the sisters have to gain. They grew up in an abusive household, too, though they were favored over me – and were at least allowed to get jobs and licenses and cars, things I was denied. Also, there is no estate. Mom was a massive hoarder. She hoarded one home so badly that she had to leave it and move to another 15 years ago. The house will have to be destroyed as the floors are caving in and it is literally in shambles. If they are fighting over that, they are really more messed up than I thought.

      I think it was just that she was so cold and withholding of affection that they have fought their whole lives to get her acceptance. It’s much the same as people who stay with an abusive partner, defending them all along the way.

  22. I believe that people gossip to compensate for their own short fallings and insecurities. Good for you to come out with this story

  23. I am sorry for your loss even though you were not close with your mother. I understand completely. I haven’t spoken to my mother in quite sometimes. I ran away from home when I was 16 and I believe it really was the best thing I ever did. It gave me a shot at a future and a live where I didn’t have to continually apologize for my existance. My mother had made it quite clear how much of a damper I put on things just being around and I cut all ties mainly because I didn’t want to have to owe her anything. I wanted to say I did it by myself and for myself. I have a feeling that when my mother does pass away, something similar wiill happen. But I’ve kind of let my past including my mother die within me. It was really for the best, I needed to let go of the emotional baggage and drama. If I’m not listed…eh…oh well. I’ve always thought of myself as orphan anyway. Hang in there!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I am sorry to read about your past. I am glad that you were able to make a better life for yourself, though. I ran away once, too, and lived with another family for a couple of years but went back home because everyone kept fighting and I thought that might make it stop. I finally left home during my senior year in high school a few months after I turned 18. I literally knocked on strangers doors until someone agreed to let me stay with them. How sad that kids have to feel that decisions like these are there only options.

  24. i am sorry to hear about your mother… I never experienced what you had but I have experience that whenever I have problem she is there with me. She has solution of my all problems…

  25. I am so sad and sorry to have read this post. I have had a similar experience and it was hurtful and not handled properly at all. Sometimes, you just have to walk away.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I am sorry to hear that you had a similar experience. I hope that you have found healing.

  26. We tend to think of family naturally as our support system. Simply because they are related to us that they have our best interests at heart. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case. Sometimes the people who are “supposed” to care for us are damaged in one way or another and cannot see past their own interests. I’m sorry you are faced with this situation and hope you will make sure your needs are met. God Bless!

  27. It has to be painful to have been put through what you have your entire life. It almost sounds like you were the only one in your family who did not carry on her ways. You are the better person for it. Live your own life and enjoy your daughter and try not to think about all this too often.

  28. I think some people are just too toxic to have in our lives, no matter how they’re tied to us. It’s like a slow poisoning.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Like they say, you don’t choose your family. So, I have no idea why some people think you “have” to have them in your life, at all costs.

  29. ellen beck says:

    I am sorry forr your loss. Estranged or not, she was your Mother. I am also so sorry you were not included in the obit, in which you should have been because you shared a family tie.
    It’s very unusual for someone to ‘write’ their own obit…. it is normally whomever is in charge of funeral arrangements as the funeral director gets the info from them andd provides it to the paper. To give your Mom a bit of an out, thats normal procedure, so she likely didnt havee anything to do with content. That is how it is done here anyway.
    I am also sorry thatt you had to endure such a toxic realtionship for so long, and are still enduring it. Let the past go, and let all of the anger go with her.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Yeah, that’s what I think, too. My sisters are blaming her, even though 1} she isn’t here to defend herself and 2} they would have had a chance to make it right.

      And you are right about letting it go. Thank you so much. :)

  30. It’ so sad when there is such a divide in families. And it really does hurt more than just the one person you have an issue with when they “try to teach a lesson” or “put someone in their place”. It really hurts more than just the one.
    My sister’s husband’s children were put in the middle of a war like that. Their mom against my Brother-in-law (their dad) and my sister. She did everything she could to “put them in their place” and what happened? a broken and dysfunctional family where my nephew couldn’t take it and committed suicide. So yeah, it’s painful and hurts more than who you intent.
    I’m so sorry you have to go through all of this.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I am so sorry for the loss of your nephew. And see, everyone felt that loss – not just a parent who used him as a pawn, pitted him against the other or whatever went on. What a sad, sad situation. :(

  31. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I don’t know why people feel they must teach each other lessons and hurt them so deeply in the process.

  32. Sheesh, life is so short for such rude messages to your daughter!
    I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom, and it’s strange that people get older and pass away without making amends. I used to think that wouldn’t happen, but now I see it does.

  33. Its always bad when family is the one who cause you so much pain and hurt. While we try to move on for a peaceful life .. as you said sometimes its best to cut ties and move in. If we are in toxic relationships .. friendships and all those people do is gossip and make you feel bad .. why should you stay and feel like you are walking on a tight rope? I saw .. forgive and move on

  34. Amy Desrosiers says:

    Sorry for the loss of the woman who gave you birth. I think it is so sad that eve in her death there was still drama being lived out. I hope you can find peace with this whole situation.

  35. I’m so sorry for all that has happened. It sounds like an awful situation. I’m glad you’re choosing to be happy and ignore the drama.

  36. I can imagine the disappointment and hurt you felt of not being mentioned. My father and I were not on talking terms when he passed… yet I was mentioned. But, like you said, choosing to be happy is the right choice.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I am glad that at least someone in your family was able to rise about pettiness. Sorry for the loss of your dad.

  37. I’ so sorry that people are being hateful and causing drama. I’m glad you are choosing to be happy. Death can bring so much drama.

  38. Debbie Denny says:

    I sure understand ans admire you . I was not close to my father, none of my full blood bro and siss wer. We were not even told he died until 2 weeks after he died. The pettyness of the stepmom #6 was pathetic and did not help her in the end. All my dads property went to step mom #5.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      So sorry for the loss of your dad. Karma really got stepmom #6. How horrible that she didn’t even tell you about his death until 2 weeks later {if she was the one who told you}. Some people just aren’t happy so they want to make sure everyone else isn’t either. Petty.

  39. I am sorry about your mother. That’s so sad. I completely agree that being around certain people will never bring you real happiness, no matter how hard your try. It’s so sad that you have this drama going on. I hope it all gets better for you!

  40. Wow, Thank goodness you cut ties with these people becasue even as an outsider, I can already tell that those particular family members are poison. I have family members like that who I’m no longer on speaking terms with and to be honest, when I cut ties with them it was like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Good for you for choosing to be happy!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Same for me. It was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders, too. It was always so hard to be around them. It’s like going to a job that you can’t stand everyday. It was always so much work to try to get along with them. That’s not happiness.

  41. I am so sorry to hear about your mom and the whole situation – there are so many sad things going on ….. Choosing to be happy is a great choice!

  42. This is such a sad situation. Sometimes it is necessary to cut ties with negative people. U need to be around people that will surround with positive intentions.

  43. I do not understand why people have to air all the dirty laundry on Facebook like that. To threaten someone where there is proof is not a very smart idea lol. I hope things improve for you.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you. Several people screenshot that conversation so if she tries anything against my daughter, it won’t be hard to prove who did it. And you are right, that wasn’t a smart idea. I guess she thought she was being funny or tough or “teaching someone a lesson.” Childish. It must be hard to live a life where you feel so small that you have to constantly threaten and hurt others to feel seen.

  44. It’s sad that even at her death, there are still issues like this. As her daughter, you deserve to be part of the obituary but I guess there are a lot of families like this with so many clashing factions.

  45. Choosing to be happy is pretty much the only thing you can do. You can’t change the past. You can’t make your mom something she wasn’t. You can’t make your “sisters” something they aren’t. You also can’t get away with murder in this day and age. So that leaves choosing to leave the drama behind and move on with the family that makes you happy, not the common DNA that makes you miserable.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you. You are so right. Dying doesn’t make someone a saint anymore than it erases the life they lived. Walking away from it made my situation better, though.

  46. As someone who has walked this road, i intimately understand what you are feeling. I not only empathize I know this journey and so I am standing in the gap with and for you that you will be filled with peace as you “grow” forward. Namaste.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I am sorry to hear this for you – and for so many others in this comment thread as well. I had no idea there were so many dysfunctional families out there. I wish you all peace. :)

  47. I don’t envy you having to deal with this situation. So many families have drama and discourse its really sad.

  48. I’m so sorry you’re having to go through all this. It’s such a sad situation. Reminds me of a time on Gilmore Girls where Luke says “there’s nothing like a wedding to screw up a family” and Lorelai responds ” in my case there’s nothing like a family to screw up a family”

  49. I am so sad to read and hear this. But good for you for choosing to be happy even when others around you try to be negative. I guess the saying that you see the worst in people at weddings and funerals is true.

  50. This is sad, I am so sorry to hear that you and your daughter are going through this. I have dealt with people who have that kind of mentality of “teaching people lessons” and I had to let them go. I have tried convincing them otherwise and would do anything for them to like me so that way we wouldn’t have bad blood but it is really exhausting. Letting them go was the best thing I did for myself. It’s hard to know that your family is like this but you and your daughter do have each other. I’m really happy to see you guys making the best of it rather than falling into this drama. I wish you guys nothing but the best and happiness for the rest of your days. Keep your chin up.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you so much. I am sorry that you had to let some people go in your life, too. You are right, some relationships are just far too exhausting to hand on to. You have to do what’s right for you. I hate that my daughter is seeing this side of my sisters. I knew it was going to happen one day, though. People are who they are.

  51. Happiness is a choice and the first part of that choice is in forgiveness. Nothing good comes from holding onto pain and seeking to “Teach people lessons” aka vengeance.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      That’s right. “Teaching people lessons” not only makes the person getting the lesson unhappy but also the one giving it. It’s just best to forgive and/or walk away. After all, forgiveness is for you, not the other person.

  52. I have always told my children that I want them to be better than me. It seems you have a good attitude and will be better than your past in a lot of areas.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you. I am definitely flawed, but I do try to rise above it, even though it can be quite difficult at times.

  53. Sabrina @ Dinner, then Dessert says:

    I’m happy that, despite the drama in your family, you seem to maintain a good relationship with your daughter! Don’t let your issues with your mother affect the next generation!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Yes, Amber and I are tight. I am so glad for that. I think it would kill me if I lost my relationship with her so I work hard to maintain it and nurture it. :)

  54. My sister-in-law and her mother are toxic like this… they feed off of drama. And are the first to insist they hate it (it being drama). To people like this, there is no talking, like you noted with your examples. And it’s a shame because they’re missing out on so much ‘real.’

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I find that people in general who talk about drama all the time, especially on social media, are the ones who are usually the ones starting it. When someone mentions “drama” on their page every single day, every week, or every whatever, you have to start looking at who the common denominator in all this is. People need to learn to handle stuff privately, with class, and keep it off social media.

  55. Rebecca Swenor says:

    I am sorry to hear about your mother and how you along with other family members were treated. It is so sad that they can’t just be grown up enough to stop being selfish. She was a part of your life as well as others it this behavior and not putting you all in the obituary. If it were me I would just revise with everyone that is missing and have it published.

  56. Elizabeth O. says:

    Everything you said is right. When you “teach people a lesson” it becomes a habit, and you go through life doing just that instead of building lasting relationships.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I love what you said about things becoming a habit. People really do often get stuck in their ways and it can be extremely hard to change. People also don’t always see their behavior the same way others do as they tend to justify the same behavior in themselves that they would not tolerate and/or appreciate in others.

  57. So sorry for your loss, regardless of the relationship she was your mother and you should have been included in the obituary but I am glad you chose to be happy than to focus on not being included.

  58. I am so sorry for the loss of your mother, because no matter how estranged it is still a loss. And then to have to go through all of this on top of it. It’s a lot to take in and process, but I think you’re doing the right thing by just focusing on those that are closest to you.

  59. I am so sorry for your loss. I agree with Crystal that no matter how estranged, it is still a loss. It was very disrespectful to omit your name from the obit. No matter what happened you are still family. I feel sad when things like this happens. My mom’s sisters are also doing this to her.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I hate this this is happening to your mom, as well. I hope that she is able to find peace in this situation.

  60. I am sorry fr your loss. I had the same relationship with my father but we were estranged for over 30 years (his choice) and he took it to the grave. Again, I am sorry it happened to you and for your loss

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Gosh, I am so sorry to hear that. What a long time to be estranged. :( Fortunately, when my dad died {15 years ago}, we were doing well. He and I have mostly always been on good terms. The relationship with mom has always been the one that was difficult.

  61. I am sorry for your loss. I lost my dad recently and we hadn’t spoken in over 20 years, so I totally can relate. It’s still a loss and can be hard for many. I wasn’t included in my dads obituary. His girlfriend and dogs were though.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      My mom’s dogs were included, too, and I was not. I would love my dogs included in mine but also my family. I am so sorry for your loss of your dad and how you were omitted, too.

  62. I am sorry for your loss first of all but more importantly i know this feeling. I had a similar situation with my cousin’s untimely death and me, my husband and kids being forgotten through it all. Sending thoughts!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin. It’s horrible that you and your family were forgotten. :(

  63. I’m saddened by your family situation and for your grandmother. I teach my children to be kind to others and that revenge is never an option. There is no actual satisfaction out of hurting others. I’m sorry this happened to you and honestly, thank you for being so honest. Most people wouldn’t share a situation like this with the world.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I have been blogging for about 4 years now and have shared very little about my family. It really is hard to share stuff like this with others, but hopefully others find it helpful. I am surprised at how many commenters have had similar experiences.

  64. I’m very sorry to hear this, but I can somehow understand your situation I don’t exactly have a good relationship with some of my relatives and it shows that though they may be of the same ‘blood’, some people are really just too toxic to keep

  65. I’m sorry for your loss. Your sister is the older one. She shouldn’t be doing this to your daughter. Your mom is gone and instead of patching things up, she does this. For me, family is family, no matter what.

  66. I hope sharing your story has helped you through this difficult time. I am starting to believe that just about every family has a toxic family member. One that has been wronged by all.

  67. I love the image about gossiping. This is so true and something to be very mindful of moving forward! Thanks so much for sharing this post with us!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      It’s funny how people love to hear gossip from others but never think about what is going on when they are not around, lol.

  68. Choosing happiness is the totally appropriate choice in this situation. I’ve had to cut ties with several family members because they are really toxic. It’s unfortunate, but I won’t allow myself to get caught up in their drama or negativity.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Good for you. We definitely can’t choose our family, but we can choose whether we keep them in our lives or not.

  69. I am close to my family, so this is sad to me. However, sometimes family is just a word and it’s in your best interest to keep your distance from certain family members. It may be hard and hurt a lot, but in the long run it may be for the best.

  70. I Guess if you have a vested interest in a long term friendship you should speak your mind. Otherwise just let it go and move on.

  71. I don’t like “drama” either but I’m very strong willed and its hard for me to bite my tongue.