Family life is a complicated thing, period.
Your relationships with the people in your family are the most difficult ones you will ever come across, as they are the most intimate ones you have. I value family beyond belief. After I had my son the gravity of the importance of family really, truly hit me. I have been so incredibly fortunate in the family department. BUT as fortunate as you are to have some people in your life, is how unlucky you are to have others. That is the sad, sad truth…
No one is perfect and people make mistakes, some larger than others, but above all else we should strive to be better at all times. We will always find a way to let one another down, but we should always do our best to rectify the situation. Who would we be without the love and support of our family? I know I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without mine. These are people who hold memories of all the big parts of your life AND all the little seemingly insignificant things as well.
It must be out of the ingrained Asian influence in my life, but I believe in doing what is best for the whole versus what is best for the individual. When you work together as a group and consider what is best for everyone and not only for yourself you function so much more harmoniously. There might be some individual sacrifices, but when you all support each other the small personal losses pale in comparison to what you gain. There might be times where you disagree as all people have their own opinions, but you do right by others to maintain the family structure.
With that said…
People don’t always share my same philosophy. When Mateo (my almost three year old son) was born, it was very important to me that he know both sides of his family and for them to participate in his life. I never wanted my son to ask me why he didn’t know this person or the other and for it to be becasue I kept him away from them. No matter what you think of people everyone deserves the opportunity to form their own opinions of each other and I always wanted my son to have the chance to do that too. As a parent you also need to protect your children, so even though you want them to be involved with certain people the interaction has to be to your standards. Obviously when you get to know people you know what they can and cannot be permitted to do or be around your children. No matter what people have done to myself or my almost husband (either my family or his) has it ever influenced who I let Mateo be around unless they are a hazard him.
In all families there are complications that you can only understand if you are on the inside, and Tommy and I are not short on these “family issues”. Quite frankly we have enough material to write a book and start our own psychotherapy facility…(that’s me being serious/trying to make light of the sad situation). I could sit here FOREVER to discuss the various issues we have. They aren’t the kind of “can you believe she said that”, or “did you see what she was wearing” problems; they are huge, monumental, sad, and seemingly irreparable problems that are out of our hands.
When you love people you accept their short comings, you forgive them because you know that they cannot be better than what they are, you learn more constructive ways to deal with them in order to curtail conflict, you set strict boundaries, and you put people in their place, so to speak, if they step out of line. It sounds simple and wonderful on paper, but let me tell you it is an incredible challenge, an emotional Olympic feat if you will; especially when people fight you EVERY SINGLE STEP of the way. We have forgiven things that people would think we were lying if we told them. Tommy, as is natural in a man is not as forgiving or amiable as I am, but he has gone out of his way to make the effort as well. I have endless faith in people and I always give the benefit of the doubt because I want to believe the best in people. I have always thought that if you treat people with decency and dignity and set a so-called good example they will in turn give you the same kind of treatment.
I can tell you that that train of thought does not work with some people and that’s where you need to re-evaluate. The people that you allow in your life are supposed to enrich through love, light, wisdom, laughter, friendship, support, and guidance. When you get to the point where you are giving but getting absolutely nothing but problems in return you need to take control of the situation. A large part of you becomes accustomed to the constant upheaval and chaos of peoples instability. When you find yourself rationalizing the irrational, you need to stop because you’re about to board the train to Crazytown. Your love for people always urges you to give them the chance to be better because no matter what you have faith in the people you love. People are capable of change and it is natural to always want to hold out for them to change; especially when you yourself have changed so much for the better. You believe that as you have loved them they will in return show you the same commitment and loyalty that was afforded to them. In the end that isn’t always the case no matter how much you wish it were. Love, in all relationships is NEVER enough. So where do you go from here?
The day comes where enough is enough. Said day is never easy. Saying goodbye to the people that you love and are supposed to love you the most is gut wrenching even if you have long been prepared for it. But you have to love yourself more and that’s what pushes you through the moments when you question if you’re doing the right thing by cutting people off. You have to be confident that you did everything in your power to have the opposite result. You have to walk away knowing you tried your best. Some people just can’t be other than what they are and that really is true. Walking away is hard, it’s sometimes as sad as a death. You will be angry, sad, and have regrets, but you can’t sacrifice your dignity and soul for people who would never do the same for you. We have all loved and lost and sometimes we have to love the other people and ourselves enough to know that walking away is what is best.