Would you be cool if you weren’t family? Would you even associate yourself with those people?
Recently I watched an episode of Girlfriends that made me ponder this question; long story short, Toni didn’t want one of her sisters in her wedding and only invited her to oblige their mother. I thought, I don’t care if her mother footed the entire ceremony (she didn’t); Toni should be granted her wishes on her and her husband’s special day. It should look and feel exactly as she’d dreamt and if those feels exclude her sister (who she’d never gotten along with), so be it.
Girlfriends is but an imitation of life, so Toni and her sister argued out a lifetime of disdain and made up in less than a half hour. Surprise surprise.
Films and television shows will have you thinking a heart to heart kiss and make up session is the simple remedy, because That’s your sister! She’s your mother! He’s family! But I am here to tell you that, although setting differences aside for a clean slate actually works for some, for many relationships it doesn’t. Sometimes we cannot move past the harm that said relative is capable of. She could be a health risk. A peace thief. Why is it ok for us to drop a shitty lover or friend who is toxic, yet if a nutty third cousin behaves the same way, we’re to exercise patience and tolerance? Why are we encouraged to leave stressful work environments, yet expected enjoy family gatherings and holiday meals with people that pummel insults? Even if it’s not a personal attack but abuse of another relative, why abet being a silent bystander? Why not just stop inviting the perp to dinner?
Why do relatives get a pass in so many families?
Reminders for People Who Have Difficult Family Relationships:
- There are other people with family issues. You are not alone.
- You are not obligated to have relationships with unhealthy people.
- You do not have to like every person in your family.
- You cannot create healthy relationships with people who are not interested in having healthy relationships.
- You are not betraying anyone by speaking your truth. You’re honoring yourself.
- It’s ok to be different from the other people in your family. – Nedra Tawwab
M ost of my family is dope as hell (albeit exhausting at times). This episode and the approaching holiday season just had me thinking whyyy in world anyone would voluntarily allow such peace disruption. Where’s the benefit?