Is It Time To Divorce Your Family?
Coming from a Latin heritage, I was raised to believe that family is everything. That blood is thicker than water. Totally understandable and honorable. I, like many of you would give my life for my kids and husband.
But, what if you are born into strong traditions and family codes that don't make sense anymore or are contradictory to your lifestyle and mental health? As toddlers up until adolescence even, we usually accept and integrate family patterns. We don’t know any different and as we grow older, these patterns become normal and expected. When something becomes expected and normal, it also becomes familiar and comfortable.
For example, not speaking up. Passivity. Passive-aggressive patterns that become the norm. Not "rocking the boat" and instead keeping your mouth shut. Allowing bad behavior to continue to keep the family together. Allowing abusive language or bullying to prevent strife and discontent. Pretending that disrespect is not intentional. Keeping annual gatherings despite consistent fighting, contempt and arguments between the same people. Excusing, blaming, explaining and rationalizing inappropriate behavior and doing it over and over again. Even intentions and what is not spoken out loud in your tribe’s traditions can be quite debilitating.
When you've had enough and you realize that the patterns are just no longer tolerable, you have a difficult but probably necessary decision to make. It’s time to break tribal patterns and either lessen your time with the toxic family members or avoid them altogether. This is one of the most difficult things you will ever do. This is also one of the most important.
If you have children, it’s exponentially important. You need to change the environment and patterns before they become accustomed to the toxicity because, unfortunately, that type of energy perpetuates. And, rather quickly.
You might be condemned, shunned and ridiculed for taking action. You might be the brunt of anger and resentment. It will most likely create confusion and turmoil. You might be looked upon as the one causing problems (even though you are simply reacting to those which have been going on for a long time.) Be ready for anything.
But, you will also be the one to finally move your family's legacy in a healthy direction. That is courageous and worthy. That is a truly loving, unselfish and compassionate decision. It’s epic. It’s life altering for everyone involved.
This year’s holiday season and even upcoming birthdays and family gatherings can be different. Perhaps, you won’t be at all of them. Even being better prepared so you aren’t triggered is a step in the right direction.
I ask you to stand tall for you and your loved ones and decide how you want to contribute to your family's legacy. And, instead of trying to stop all of the unhealthy family traditions and patterns, replace them with new ones. Lead by example - without guilt and long explanations. When done in love, you have an excellent chance of being a game changer for everyone else in your family and beyond. That's truly a gift that never stops giving.
What can you learn from current uncomfortable interactions and what needs to be done about them? Take on the soul searching and know that you are supporting and building a life and legacy of love and respect.
We are meant to interact with and learn from each other. Often times, we are not aware of the significance of our relationships until they become painful. And, that’s part of growth and evolvement as mature and balanced adults.
In other words, it’s all worth it.
Family IS everything...you want it to be.