What to do when you’re related to the Zombie

Ray asked in the comments from Friday:

How about a segment on what to do with family who will get you and yours killed in SHTF. I.E. people who are crazy/stupid/junkies/perverts ,or just to lazy to do anything but let others look after them. I know EVERY family has a least one of the above, So…..

I figured, why re-invent the wheel. Here’s a post I wrote a couple of years ago. Enjoy!

We’ve talked about the crazy people you’ll find when putting together your survival group.  I’d like to talk today about the crazy people we have less choice about. Family. Sadly, we don’t get to choose our family.  We do get a choice in how/if we include them in our survival plans.  Some are strong, stable individuals who may have a place in your survival plans. Others are seemingly incapable of things like self-restraint, self-preservation or  grace under pressure.  And that’s before the SHTF on a national scale. For those relatives, including them in your survival plans is mostly a matter of predicting their points of failure and planning your responses to them.

In some cases, it’s easier and better to cut off contact with those family members who you would rather not see after the SHTF.  I think most readers here have a firm grasp on this one, but I’ll give an example anyway. I have a cousin, who lives a few states away, and I make sure he has no idea where we live, beyond the vague ‘Iowa.’  He had a huge problem with drugs, until he got beat near to death by said drug dealers, and has spent the past 6 years in and out of jail and probation, trying to get his life back on track.  I’m not interested in dealing with his addictions or the trouble from them.  His track record is a pretty sure thing and predicting his point of failure is pretty easy.

More challenging decisions will center around those family members who are generally good people but, for one reason or another, can’t handle stress. Stress can be difficult for anyone to bear, but stress compounded by marital problems, illness, malnutrition or addictions can be even more difficult to bear.  Guessing where and when that stress will cause a breakdown can be tricky.  For instance, you can probably guess if your brother-in-law’s marriage will be strong enough to handle a SHTF event.   So, for the sake of the example, let’s assume it will fail. Sure, you have a plan to handle said brother-in-law if he shows up wanting a couch to sleep on. Do you have a plan to handle him if he goes on an alcohol binge, which, when combined with malnutrition (because he’s been living off of chips and slim jims for a couple of months) and stress sends him into a psychotic break down in the middle of the night? [Yea, that’s a true story.]

Let’s say you plan to take in your elderly mother/grandmother.  Do you have plans for dealing with instability as mental functions decline? Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, there are lots of fancy  names for it, and your army surplus store doesn’t have a tool for dealing with it.   Stress and instability will only make those conditions worse, and it’s better to think about how you’ll handle them, before you have to.   I think better locks on doors, perhaps some of those child-proof covers on the stove and a watchful mentality by everyone living in the house can go a long way towards keeping an elder safe, even when they drift mentally.

Even the strongest of your relatives, those that you may have as integral people to your survival plans, could have a hard time dealing with extreme grief or depression and need more than a cup of tea to set them straight again. I’m not saying you need a fully stocked pharmacy, but I think you’d be doing yourself a favor if you have a plan for dealing with this need. There are a number of herbs with useful properties and some OTC’s that could come in handy.  Taking the time now to put together the supplies and doing a bit of reading online could make a difficult situation a little better.

Make sure your spouse is on the same page with you, it would suck to roll out your well thought of plan only to have said spouse hate it.

Our society has been pretty good about insulating most families from the crazy, the dangerous and the messy.  We’ve had enough money, (generally speaking,) to pay for law enforcement personnel and medical personnel and facilities to foist those problems off where we don’t have to deal with them in our day-to-day lives. Those services can be overwhelmed pretty quickly, especially if government assistance dries up, which  is already happening.  I think it’s easy to say now that you’ll be in your remote doomstead, where the zombies can’t get you, but the reality is infirmity and mental illness can’t be stopped by quarantine or ammunition.

-Calamity Jane

19 comments… add one
  • Mike the Gardener April 9, 2013, 8:33 am

    I think all families have at least one zombie .. it’s impossible to avoid.

    Reply
  • SD3 April 9, 2013, 8:33 am

    CJ, I see two distinct categories here:
    1) people you care about who have lost the capacity to care for themselves
    2) People you care about who have made a conscious, willful choice to introduce addiction and all the attendent chaos & stupidity that goes along their lifestyle choices.

    We’ll do what we can for victims of alzheimers, dementia, MS, etc.

    The rest of these jack-wagons (“family” or not, be damned) are on their own.

    Reply
  • momengineer April 9, 2013, 8:42 am

    Also need to consider those that struggle with mental illness. Case in point, life was h%ll with my father growing up until he was properly diagnosed…now, as long as he is on his meds, he is a great dad/granddad….

    I have begged and pleaded with my parents to start squirrelling away some of his meds- even if it is only one pill a month, but they think I am nuts. While their house would be a great “bug out” location (farm) I am not planning on going there unless last resort…because I know he would be hard to deal with off his meds.

    Some situations, you just have to pray about, I guess….

    Reply
  • Ray April 9, 2013, 9:13 am

    Thanks Jane, and yeh, In my case its a brother who is a hopeless junky , he is at best abusive and unstable, at worst violent. He will not even acknowledge that he has a problem-let alone seek help. My mother has protected him for years(he’s the youngest) and is the only reason that he isn’t in prison now. Sooner or later he’ll hit her and we’ll have to send him up-state. She has moved him onto the property with her(“but he can’t take care of himself”). And she is already covering up “thefts”. So fun- fun I have to tell her this week that my Wife and child will NOT be out to see her till he is gone or dies (in his case sooner than later as he’s hooked on pain killers)

    Reply
  • Charles,,,, April 9, 2013, 10:01 am

    A third catogory should be those that know now but arn’t lifting a finger to do anything about it but say: When TSHTF we’ll know where to go, but where they know there is “stuff” there isn’t enough “stuff” to dole out… good people, just stupid to the whole “what if”, they have nothing prepared, nothing saved, live each week check to check, party when they can and enjoy maxing out their credit cards… good people, no dependency’s just NO prep’s, but because you care you have told them and shown them thing’s that makes them think when something happens we’ll just show up…. a very hard factor to deal with, I know most will just say turn them away for being stupid, but can you, can I, another thought from one man.

    Reply
    • rush2112 April 9, 2013, 10:14 am

      good point. my brother and his family of 6 fall into this category. good people but have no preps at all, doubt if they have enough food to make it a week, no weapons, and worse of all no knowledge of anything useful. I’ve tried many times to get my brother to the range with me, never comes. We used to go camping together, and I always ended up doing everything around camp cause bro is useless without stove/ dishwasher/fridge. So if the event does happen, i’ll have 6 close family members show up with no materials and no skills. wonderful.

      Reply
      • Leslie Anne April 9, 2013, 5:28 pm

        If the shtf situation is bad enough, they won’t make it to your place. Someone will ambush them before they get there. Always a bright side.

        Reply
  • JAS April 9, 2013, 10:35 am

    Every family has at least one member that they don’t want anywhere near them when SHTF. These are the people you don’t even discuss your plans and preps with. The bigger issue is that you have other family members who you would want to bring into your group, but are very aware that they will spill the beans to those bad members. They just don’t understand how big a threat these other members are. I have a couple of local family members that fit into these catagories and while I don’t discuss my plans with any of them, I do expect and plan for taking care of. They will not know this until the very last minute and will not be allowed to bring anyone with them. Every family will have to make their own choices during tough times as to who gets support and who doesn’t.

    Reply
  • R.C. April 9, 2013, 11:39 am

    I personally have one relative whom I know for a fact drinks the kool-aid. She tells my father (her brother) that the government will provide for every contingency, they wouldn’t let society collapse. Keep in mind, she grew up in a large household (5 other brothers and sisters) who used to hunt to put food on their table growing up. If you want to talk about addiction and family, here is a perfect example of addiction to the easy things in life. Where convenience replaced self sufficiency.

    I have no doubt, that when the SHTF and government comes knocking on her door to dangle the carrot demanding she turn in her gun owning relatives, that she would easily cave in.

    My brothers own wife has mentioned to me that hunting is an abomination since we have grocery stores now and don’t need to get our food from hunting. LOL

    Some times you just have to shake your head and laugh. :D

    Reply
  • Pineslayer April 9, 2013, 11:42 am

    My household is the only one in the family that can make a go of it. Everyone one else is complacent. It really sucks. My oldest girl’s boyfriend is very capable and is welcome here over the rest of my relatives. Fortunately all of my family lives many states away and I will probably never see them if things go South. I know that sounds harsh, but we have little in common and they don’t try to stay in contact anyway. My bigger concern are my neighbors. Lots of good people who think things are going to be fine. I can’t prep for all of them, if I had the $ I would but…
    My aforementioned oldest is adopted. Her family is dependent on the system, they will be a huge problem and I feel that they will cause much heartache for my daughter. It will be on my shoulders to make the hard choices.

    Reply
  • Yikes! April 9, 2013, 2:40 pm

    “The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermonuclear war due to the evermore undisguised hostile actions of the United States and the south Korean puppet warmongers and their moves for a war against” the North, said a statement by the North Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee.

    Just sayin’.

    Reply
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy April 9, 2013, 7:18 pm

    All that family that I thought was worthless and would never amount to much, make hellava targets for sighting in at 400 yards ;-)

    Reply
  • javelin April 9, 2013, 9:30 pm

    We have told various memebers of our family “dont show up here” and others “if you show up you better have something to contibute and we can use

    Reply
  • irishdutchuncle April 10, 2013, 5:34 pm

    many of our families probably consider each of “us” to be that fringe person, they would rather not associate with…

    Reply
    • rush2112 April 10, 2013, 8:48 pm

      how true. until they remember that fringe person has what they need. :) whole ant/grasshopper thing

      Reply
      • irishdutchuncle April 11, 2013, 2:20 am

        I didn’t tell them what I have, although they’ll probably assume I have a few firearms. they don’t even know I’m an “armchair survivalist from the internet”. I’m just that strange son/ brother/uncle they see a couple times a year.

        Reply
  • izzy April 13, 2013, 5:59 am

    good point irishdutch, you beat me to it! all survivalists secretly hope/expect to smell like roses “post-SHTF” and have everyone finally applaud their foresight…
    … and the “loser” relative – who is an addict, can’t get a “real” job, is out of shape, or just plain elderly – might have more value when deprived of “civilization”. There will be no drugs, they might have gained non-marketable but useful skills, the pounds will melt off as the circulation gets going, and years of accumulated pre-Internet knowledge might be revealed when granny’s rocking the newborn in your living room instead of sitting alone in front of the boob tube.
    meanwhile the high-achieving boss might turn out to be clueless with general humankind, and have unrealistic expectations/confidence about himself.
    you just never know till it hits – and loyalty beats skill, every time, you can’t buy/barter that

    Reply
  • izzy April 13, 2013, 6:05 am

    good point irishdutch, you beat me to it! all survivalists secretly hope/expect to smell like roses “post-SHTF” and have everyone finally applaud their foresight…
    … and the “loser” relative – who is an addict, can’t get a “real” job, is out of shape, or just plain elderly – might have more value when deprived of “civilization”. There will be no drugs, they might have gained non-marketable but useful skills, the pounds will melt off as the circulation gets going, and years of accumulated pre-Internet knowledge might be revealed when granny’s rocking the newborn in your living room instead of sitting alone in front of the boob tube.
    meanwhile the high-achieving boss might turn out to be clueless with general humankind, and have unrealistic expectations/confidence about himself.
    you just never know till it hits – and loyalty beats skill, every time, you can’t buy/barter that. if they have your back they’re priceless (even if they disagree with you). if they don’t have that…

    Reply
    • irishdutchuncle April 14, 2013, 9:06 am

      nah, izzy. I’m not having any illusions of post SHTF grandeur:
      overweight, out of shape, middle aged armchair survivalist.
      (and I don’t have a “real” job, I’m civil service…)
      there are however, loads of people out there who are in for rude awakenings after the “event”. at least in my household, we’re already acquainted with “struggle”.

      Reply

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