Monday, March 1, 2010

What really is a family?

We took a recent trip to visit my SIL and her family and as we were sitting and talking as per our usual I had an epiphany. She is very much what family should be. This led to the wondering of what family really is and means. Family is supposed to love despite our faults. Family is supposed to be our biggest cheerleader and our strongest critic. When we are at the cliffs edge family stands beside us to pull us back and at the bottom of the cliff to catch us. Luckily Hubs and I are blessed with more family than we sometimes know what to do with. Sometimes though family becomes a crutch, a way to get ahead in life with little actual effort, a parachute that becomes a safety blanket that never goes away, cushioning us from dealing with life. Those instances turn the very definition of family from "love" to "toxic". How do we deal with that? When does love and support turn into something decidedly more harmful and what steps need to be taken to save not only the relationship but the giver's sanity? I began to ponder this and really try to think of solutions. I see many toxic relationships throughout life and knowing how to find the balance is so important. I came to realize that some relationships have no safe way to remove the harmful parts. If one person tries then the very essence of family requires another to step into that void and become the one being hurt. Maybe another solution is not to end the harmful aspects of a relationship but to accept them in a bid to protect others from feeling more pain the you do. I do know that sometimes we have to sacrifice much to receive the blessings.

1 comment:

  1. I figure family, a home, is culture, the choice of values of what is right and wrong, a choice of traditions and rituals.

    Homes, the cultures of homes, combine to make communities.

    The culture of the home comes from the life experiences and family backgrounds of the families that reared the adults that make the home. The more respect and honor an adult feels for their parent's home, the more they emulate the culture of that home.

    A family forms to create a cultural element, an atom of community, that acts as a unit with extended family and with the community, and thus the state and nation.

    The values in your home, the traditions and rituals you choose, are your choice. This is called boundaries. Just as in relationships between partner prospects, you as a family have to decide how you interact with your community and extended family. You are responsible for deciding what is acceptable, and what you won't put up with. There are various levels of limiting unwanted influences, from dire to passive-aggressive.

    Sometimes a *trusted* elder can help explain or moderate things.



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