This post is brought to you by a particularly nasty comment on my last post, written by someone who thinks they’re anonymous. It never made it to the light of day because I promptly trashed it.
Shaken and upset, I showed my husband the texts. I watched as he silently read, as his face settled into the resolute lines I could already feel on my own face. He finished reading and looked up at me. “Our kids will never ever see them again.” I nodded. “I agree.”
I didn’t know what else to say. How could someone that I thought loved me – someone I’ve known all my life – say such horrible things? Is that what family does to each other?
There’s a saying: blood is thicker than water. I have a theory about where that came from. You know how blood coagulates, right? It thickens, to help stop the bleeding from an injury and heal wounds? A healthy family relationship will help each other heal their wounds. An unhealthy one will actually create wounds.
A raw kind of wound
This holiday season, lots of us out there are hurting. Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas that focus on loving family relationships are particularly difficult because they pinpoint what we don’t have, or pour salt in the raw wounds of hurtful words or actions. It’s even worse if it involves our kids, because we feel a special need to protect them where we might not even try to defend ourselves.
If you, like me, deal with this kind of special pain, I have a message for you: love doesn’t do that. If family creates wounds rather than heals them, then they’re – not – family. They’re just biologically connected to you.
If someone says they love you, but their actions are hurtful, negative, or toxic, then their words mean nothing.
You are under no obligation to family. Zilch. You didn’t chose where you were born.
If you have to hide who you are to feel accepted, then they are missing out on the amazing, wonderful person that you are.
You do not have to accept insults, slurs, or prejudice. Shut it down calmly and stand your ground.
If keeping the peace means squashing your soul, don’t do it. Start WWIII or don’t meet with family at all.
I’ve personally made the choice to cut toxic people out of my life and limit contact with others who consistently have demonstrated I don’t matter to them. That might not be an option for everyone, but it was the right choice for my own mental health. It was the right choice to protect my kids.
I don’t regret it. I do regret the need to do so.
This holiday, I invite you to sit down with a cup of your favorite beverage and consider what family means to you. Don’t accept abuse from someone just because they happen to be related to you.
Yes, I said abuse. Call it what it is.
Best wishes to everyone!