“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”unknown
You know the old saying, ‘you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family’? Well, I call bullshit. Not all of us are lucky to have an amazing and supportive family. I do. I am grateful for them everyday. But some of us have toxic families. We are so convinced that we need to put up with the toxic. To find a place for it in our hearts. So convinced that we have no choice. Why? Ask yourself why?
Let’s look at the definition of family. Copy and pasted right out of Merriam Webster’s book.
1 : a social group made up of parents and their children. 2 : a group of people who come from the same ancestor You resemble your mother’s side of the family. 3 : a group of people living together : household. 4 : a group of things sharing certain characteristics a family of languages.
Four different definitions. Here is another one.
5 : a group of people that support, give and bond to each other equally, no matter what the circumstances.
Taken right out of my own personal book. We all know families come in different shapes and sizes. It is not defined by blood. Adoption. Step-children/parents/siblings. Fostering. So if it has little to do with blood connection, why do we feel that we need to stay connected to a family member that is toxic? Why do we suffer abuse and disrespect from anyone?
I have been living at least a province away from my parents and siblings for my entire adult life. We are not always able to physically be there for each other. So I have expanded my family. One that I have chosen. One that supports me and is there for me when the original 6 can’t be. And I have removed some of those members over time. Ones that take advantage of me. Ones that disrespect me. Ones that are unhealthy for me.
Sadly this is so much more difficult when it is your family. I know. You have been through everything together. A lifelong of everything. But if your sister is emotionally abusive or your son is self-absorbed and hurtful, step back. If your mother is a narcissist and your brother is a violent criminal, step back. Just step back and take inventory of your value. Just because they are family does not mean you are not valuable. It does not mean that you don’t deserve better.
Please don’t think I’m cold at heart. I am not. I have just learned from having a big heart that has been broken, that you have to step back sometimes. I am not saying you should abandon those that need you. But you can help them in other ways that do not take so much from you. You can’t make them get help. But you can lead them to help. Lead them and let them help themselves. Show them what strength is. Show them your strength by taking care of you. The rest is up to them and only them.
Family is everything. But who is your family. Take a close look at the definition written in your own personal book.