I was raised with the belief that, “Family is everything”. Sadly this programming has set me up for many heart breaks and alot of sadness. I grew up thinking that this included my extended family, which includes cousins, second cousins etc. Family should be there to support you no matter what. Family should be there when no one else is stepping forward. Family is blood and tied by blood. “Blood is thicker than water”. In truth, my discovery many years ago as to what this quote actually means should have been my first clue. This statement does not mean that your ties to your family are stronger than your ties to those with whom you choose to bond. In its entirety, the quote actually reads, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the waters of the womb.” That gives it a whole new meaning, doesn’t it? Family should be those people that stand by you, they are the ones that love you unconditionally. They are the ones that support you through crisis rather than mock you. These are the ones, even if they don’t agree with you, will still understand your point of view and where you are coming from.
I have gone through alot of hell in my life. There are things that I have never told anyone because I didn’t want them to have to hold that same pain that I was enduring. I have been molded by my life experience and have gone through dark periods where I needed my family the most, and they weren’t there. When I was four years old, my life was taken from me in the vilest of ways and changed the outcome of my life entirely. From the ages of 12 to 18 I have pieces of my life that were so dark, but I cannot block them from my mind. I had no choice but to separate myself at that time from everyone in my life because I didn’t know who I could even trust. The people that were there for me, are the people that choose to be my family…many of which are not related by blood. So, because I was raised with the notion of family is everything, I have set myself up for heart ache and a shattered soul. In reality, just because you are related to someone does not mean that you can trust them. Just because you grew up with the same people and the same amazing Grandparents, doesn’t mean that they are all good people. Just because you would personally drop what you are doing to go to a family members aid, does not mean they would do it for you. And just because someone is your blood, does not mean that they don’t hide dark secrets that can destroy your illusion of them or your illusion of what family means.
I am finally learning. I am coming to a point in my own life where I need to cut ties to the people that hurt me over and over. I am finally learning that I am in charge of who gets to be in my heart, and that I can’t just believe the elders in the family who tell me that we have to get along because we are family. I don’t have to…and I can’t. Neither do you. None of us have to spend time with people that make us uncomfortable. If you have panic attacks whenever you think of family gatherings, or class reunions, or team building outings, then you simply don’t need to put yourself in that situation. We are not meant to live a life with anything less than joy, and if you have to cut people then do it. My children are adults, but I have found out that I still need to protect them from narrow minded, uneducated trolls that spew hate…and ya…some of those people are family. I have to change my perception of family and its ok for you to do so as well, and if this blog causes some of my family to cut their ties with me, then please do so now so that we can all just move forward in joy. I don’t want to be the cause of your pain, any more than I want to be in pain. I will always hold the love in my heart, and I set you free with nothing but love.