We do not have the opportunity to pick who our families are. When we are born, we are introduced to a group of people who are familiar with one another and are most often times blood-related. As our infant bodies grow, we acclimate to life outside of the womb, we gain object permanence, begin to crawl etc we also start to develop relationships with those around us. The source of food and hopefully love becomes mommy and daddy. Visiting faces become aunty, uncle, cousin. Growing into a family can be a truly beautiful thing and often times our family experiences shape our futures. We want to believe that our family is our support system, our refuge, our voice of wisdom, our home, our heart but this is not always the case. Just as there can be toxic relationships with friends and with significant others there can be toxic family relationships.
This does not mean that there is some fatal flaw in the family. No matter how many genes we have in common, there will always be differences between us. There may come a time when it is evident that maintaining a certain familial relationship is detrimental to your wellbeing.
In a case like this, we should try to be cordial especially at family gatherings but it is more than okay to keep a healthy distance. There will always be people who are against you, people who for some reason have so much time on their hands they are more worried about your own life rather than bettering theirs. There will always be parasites who will suck you dry and then step all over you as they move on to their next victim. In some rarities, these enemies can be relatives.
Cut these enemies from your life. Find the negativity and extract it. If in the future there is an opportunity for reconciliation, that is amazing but if not, such is life. We should not hold onto toxicity for the sake of the family. That is like keeping a busted appendix in the body for the sake of making original bodily integrity. It does not make sense.
I do believe deeply in familial relationships and encourage for them to be maintained but not when the maintenance of such is painful. It says nothing bad about your family if one person is manipulative or dysfunctional but it says a lot about you if you allow yourself to go through those cycles of pain. It says that you are not placing enough value on yourself. It says that you are wishing this person will change without realizing that they have to come to that catalytic moment themselves. There are ways to maintain good familial relationships, distance ourselves from toxicity and love ourselves without being selfish.
A family should be a loving support system. If someone is the anthesis of this, can they truly be called family?