(adj.) relating to or occurring in a family or its members.
Do y’all want to know one of my triggers? Yes? Okay, because I’m going to tell you anyways! It’s when I hear someone say, “That’s your family, you have to forgive and let it go!”
What kind of unwarranted emotional manipulation is that? It’s not okay to essentially train people to believe that just because a person is bonded to another individual by blood or marriage that they should accept disrespect from that same said individual. Let’s talk about it, because it is a very unhealthy statement. Especially when the thing that people are asking an individual to forgive and forget is sexual harassment, emotional or physical abuse, or a grand disrespect. The notion that these actions should be forgiven and forgotten due to familial ties is downright out of pocket.
Have you picked up on the tone of this post so far? It’s slightly aggressive right? Well the comment, “That’s your family you have to forgive and let go,” comes off as slightly aggressive as well. It completely negates the notion of boundaries, self respect, and safety!
When we are young we are taught to protect ourselves and as we get older we are taught to protect our peace. However, when we feel violated, unprotected, and that our peace has been disrupted due to a family member, the rest of the family members expect the individual to turn a blind eye to that hurt. It’s a dangerous dogma to uphold. Especially to adolescents as they will adopt this ideology as true and could possibly apply it to all other forms of bonds and relationships. We all need to strive to break this cycle and to break away from this way of thinking.
We need to start by forgetting the false idea that family can not hurt you. We know this is not true, anybody has the ability to hurt you. We may expect family not to hurt us, sort of like a tacit agreement we make amongst one another. But, as some may know, expectations don’t always manifest in our reality. We see it all the time! In the media, news, and for some people they see it in their own families. Young kids being harassed, raped, or abused by a relative, people being physically harmed by their spouse, family members disowning their own because of sexual orientations, family members saying hurtful and traumatic words, family members neglecting their child during their adolescent years and then randomly popping back up in their adult life, and just so much more. It’s no secret that for some people, their deepest wounds, the ones they try to hide the most are because of a family member.
Trying to enforce and uphold the idea of familial ties after a bad situation occurs can be detrimental. I know for some people such as myself, we are taught very young that family is everything. You’re supposed to be there and look out for one another, in short we are always supposed to have each other’s back. This is okay to teach, for the most part. As you are teaching the notion that family is everything, you should simultaneously teach that not everyone in your family will uphold this bond. Some family members might hurt you, whether it be intentional or not. Teach that if this happens, regardless of intention, to make sure that person is held accountable. I can not stress this enough. Teach and enforce accountability.
It does not matter who the relative is. It can be the uncle, aunt, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, first cousin, hell it can even be the third cousin twice removed, “If a person hurts you, said person needs to be held accountable.” That’s the saying that needs to replace, “That’s your family, you have to forgive and let it go!”
I can’t even keep up with the amount of stories people have shared with me where they’ve expressed being hurt by a family member sexually, physically, and or emotionally. Listening to the stories hurt. What hurt even more was when they shared with me that their family either denies that it ever happened or their families tried their hardest to suppress and hide it from other family members in order to keep the peace.
Can you imagine?! No, really…can you imagine sharing a traumatizing or sad story with your loved ones and they either gaslight your trauma or tell you to keep quiet to avoid drama. There is no keeping the peace in spaces where people have shown you peace is not welcomed.
Do NOT put your mind and heart at war to protect a person who has hurt you. Do NOT hold the weight of your traumas on your shoulders like a designer bag to maintain familial ties. Do NOT disrespect yourself in addition to already being disrespected. Familial ties can be untied. There is the family we are placed with and the family we choose and neither are permanent places.
I wish I knew this earlier. There are situations I wish I could’ve been there better for someone I consider a loved one. But, the past is not my home. I can not dwell there, I can only do better moving forward so that is what I’ll do.
Protect yourself and your peace at each stage in your life because if you don’t, who will? Familial ties are nice in theory and even better if you come from a family who does everything in their power to protect and nurture one another. But, like I said before, not every family member and family upholds this type of bond. If you come from a family that doesn’t, don’t let familial ties tangle you in a web of anxiety, depression, anger, or any other emotion that is detrimental to your overall state of being. Why? Because that’s #WhatChiSaid! See you next time!
~These are just my thoughts and opinions
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~Comments and/or feedback always welcomed!