I wrote a post on Friday. And I didn’t publish it.
It was filled with anger. So much anger and hate.
It was about my family. A topic I’ve been avoiding. But a topic that has to be discussed.
It would shed an unfortunate light on the people who shaped who I am today. The people who taught me how to love, how to look at the world, and how to act.
And those people made some big mistakes. They did some really terrible things. To me, and to each other. Some of those mistakes made me a strong person. But some of those mistakes made me a broken, sad, and very sick person.
Posting a blog about all the ridiculous nonsense of my childhood wouldn’t solve anything. It wouldn’t take away my hurt, heal the deep wounds, or make me a less dysfunctional person.
However, I could write a blog about family. And boundaries. And how I’ve chosen to handle the crap I’ve found myself surrounded by.
So here’s some things I believe to be true about family.
- Family is a wonderful, wonderful thing
- It’s crucial in being a fully functioning human being
- The desire for family, for a group of people who deeply know and love you, is deeply engrained in all of us.
Here are some things I don’t believe to be true about family.
- It’s the people you share blood with
- It’s forever
- It’s the most important thing you have
- The health of the family comes before the health of the individual
- It requires agreement and singular thinking in order to function
- It’s biblical to keep the family “together”
I chose to distance myself from my traditional family about a year and a half ago. The dynamics weren’t allowing me to grow and become healthy. So I found myself in a weird, awesome, new family. This family challenges me, disagrees with me, accepts me, hugs me, lets me cry, lets me yell, lets me be sick, lets me be healthy, lets me be angry, lets me be wrong, and most importantly, they love me. They love me so fiercely, there is nothing I could do or say that would prompt them to cast me out. I could chose a life of sex,drugs, and rock and roll, and they would still show me grace and love. They would give me many stern talks about my goals and behavior, and probably spend less time with me, but they would never use manipulation or guilt to make me act any certain way.
And I share blood with only a few of these family members.
I no longer communicate with my parents. Which is a much debated topic of conversation. I have been told, time and time again, that God exhorts us to honor our father and mother. Valid.
And I did that. But Acts 5:29 says, “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
My husband and I dug into “honor thy father and mother” and what that means as adults. Here are some verses that brought me clarity.
- Where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. (James 3:16).
- Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered. (Proverbs 22:24)
- Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
- For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. (Psalm 27:10)
- So practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. (Matthew 23:3)
I believe the bond of parent and child is broken when a parent acts in a way that brings physical or emotional harm to a child. And from there I made the decision to distance myself. And it was not, and still isn’t, an easy decision. Cutting myself off from the people that raised me, from those I love deeply, hurts me every single day. But it is possible to end a relationship and still feel sadness. And grief. And relief. And freedom. And guilt.
My parents weren’t present at my wedding. I don’t have a “home” to go back to. I’ve been ridiculed and shamed by those that should protect me. It makes me cry. It hurts. It makes my husband cry. It makes him angry.
But it was my decision. And I stand by it. I hope for reconciliation, but I will not put my life on hold for that day. I will not allow dysfunctional relationships to take up space in my life. I will not allow the generations of abuse to continue and affect my children. I hope when the day comes for my children to leave the nest, they decide to keep the relationship alive. But if they don’t, I will love them anyway. Even from afar. Even if it hurts. Because it’s their decision. Not mine.