Most of the time when it comes to family, you’re surrounded by people who’ve known you your whole life. Some of them watched you grow up from infancy into adulthood. Some of them were with you during all of your important milestones. Some of them were somehow married in, dated in, or just inducted into your family by means beyond your control. However, even though you may have known these people for what seems like forever, you may not share that warm glow called loved and appreciation for them all.
I can honestly say I loathe many of my family members. I know “loathe” may appear to be a strong word, but it was the only one that I was absolutely sure most of my family members wouldn’t know the meaning. This is a sad fact, but very true. My reasons for despising certain family members aren’t due to their employment, education, financial, or relationship status. I don’t judge people like that. I am utterly repulsed by some of my family members because of their inability to be anything outside of negative. They’re the ones that ask stupid questions, just because they want to hear their own voice. They are the individuals that don’t celebrate great things about other people’s lives, but congregate to gossip about the bad. They call all the time looking for some juicy news, they always throw a monkey wrench in your goals and plans, and they somehow manage to embarrass everyone who shares their last name. Thank God for marriage, because I can now pretend I don’t know most of them.
There used to be a time where I thought that despite all their negative characteristics, I should still devote one hundred percent to loving them and being there for them no matter what. A sick notion I must have picked up from some Hallmark card or something, for sure. Nevertheless, after many years, much maturity, and a dose of healthy common sense, I realized that being around them would serve no purpose but to remind me of how awful growing with them up once was. I discovered that sometimes, you just have to deal with people with a long handled spoon or not at all. I think it was all those family dinners ruined by drunken relatives looking to stir up a fight, or maybe it was just God. Either way, I find myself avoiding certain relatives often. My up bringing wasn’t the most conventional or safe, mostly because of the relatives I’m mentioning. Nowadays, after becoming an adult and having a family of my own, I still see no progression or change from them in any way that displays that I should still be associated with them.
I have a lineage full of addicts, drunks, child-molesters, womanizers, pathological liars, instigators and plain idiots. While most young women rely on a helpful aunt, grandmother, cousin, or parent to guide them through life occasionally, I was short-changed with a few reckless characters on my family tree. Although not everyone in my family fits the mold of “waste of skin”, many of them are an embarrassment in some way or another. What is a girl to do? I recently had a conversation about dealing with those that I can honestly say, “mean to do harm” to me or are just pathetic, and how my children will need to know them some day. I think that is where my mother made the mistake while I was growing up. She hoped that her strained relationship with her in-laws wouldn’t affect their love for her daughters, and that they would keep disputes among the adults. Although we were young, her in-laws wasted no time in sharing torrid rumors about my mother, all the while allowing us to partake in alcohol and such as children. It wasn’t until we grew into young women, that my mother learned of their intent to sabotage her children and her reputation. I do not plan to introduce my children to people who wish harm on me, with the hopes that they will not treat my children the same as they have treated me. We all pray people will do right by our kids, regardless of their feelings toward us. However, why gamble with the chance that your children will receive the consequences of someone’s hatred toward you? Even if they don’t hate you, and are just plain bad news, why allow your children to be subjected to the same nonsense that you had to endure? Children don’t know the back-story and you are not required to fill them in. You also aren’t required to build a connection with those that make you uncomfortable. As an adult, we should be able to say, “I don’t want to deal with you” and not feel guilty about it. Our lives aren’t dictated by some unwritten rules that say we have to deal with people who bring no positive value to our lives, just because they are our relatives.
I’m not advocating that you deny your whole family and never speak to them again. I’m just stating that there comes a point in one’s life where they should rid themselves of useless relationships that wear them down. Often times these relationships are with our relatives. Relationships filled with turmoil, confusion, disputes and sometimes violence should not be tolerated just because you’ve known someone your whole life. Like the old saying goes, “God brings people in your life for a reason and a season…” I don’t think there was a special clause for relatives and their issues. I rather remember the good old days of growing up and enjoying my ignorance with these relatives while steering clear of them, than to endure stress and disappointment now while I’m grown. I once looked back at a few of my relationships with some of my relatives, and realized all we have are the “good old days”. There is nothing for us to talk about now, that doesn’t include gossiping about another relative. We aren’t going in the same directions in life and most often, the pain from past disputes and arguments never quite healed on either side for it to be ignored. It was when I realized that family is what you make it, that I was fully comfortable with dissolving those decayed relationships with my relatives.
The term “family” doesn’t necessarily mean, “people with the same blood line, last name, and family tree” as you. Sometimes family can be our great friends that we love and trust, our significant others, and even … our own children. Of course, it’s traditional to go to Mom and Dad’s or Grandma’s for the holidays, but there is no law that said this is required. Yes, it would be great to allow your children to play with and grow up with their cousins, those of which were born to that relative that you know sells drugs or is always in trouble with the law. News Flash: You don’t have to!
We are all in control of our own lives. Our lives are not pre-determined by other people, so there is no need to feel compelled to deal with those that you much prefer not to. Even our own family members can be unsavory characters in our book, those of which we don’t need to be associated. Feel comfort in knowing that although you may run into them at the next cookout or birthday party, your interaction can stop there if you choose. It’s ok to feel like you don’t want them too close to your kids. It’s normal to feel like ending your relationship with them, because of their life choices, their behavior, or their attitude for the sake of your family and sanity. You don’t have to deal with people that you feel don’t bring happiness, solitude, or positive aspects to your life. Even if those people are relatives, you don’t have to deal with their issues. I like to say that I choose to love them from afar.
- From Family Inequality: Incarceration’s contribution to infant mortality (drhiphop85.com)
- Divorce Rate Drops, But Children Still At-Risk (blogs.lawyers.com)
- Effects of early attachment on adult attachment and adult self-soothing (udini.proquest.com)
- What to Do When Your Child Lacks a Father Figure (dangerouslee.biz)
- Simple Solutions for Life Problems_A (dranilj1.wordpress.com)
- What Are You Leaving Behind? (theladiesfeed.wordpress.com)
- How Kids Benefit From Chores (lauragraceweldon.com)
- On What “Every Parent” Should Do. (razingmayhem.com)
- New Survey On What Parents Fear Most (prweb.com)
- Does Being Tough Mean Being Negative? (dailyrumblings.wordpress.com)