I noted in early January, that I was ABSOLUTELY DONE with engaging my toxic family and that I had tried time-and-time again to reconcile with many of my family members. Was I successful?
I think I have a failure rate of about 75% and despite my early 2014 mantra of “I am done with toxicity” I bit the bullet and – yet again – tried to extend an olive branch to two family members this week. I had felt this tugging feeling at my innermost spirit to try again to mend broken relationships and I HONESTLY talked myself into the “it will be different this time” mentality only to fall flat on my face with proverbial laughter trailing after me.
Needless to say, I wasn’t successful at this possible reconciliation either.
I actually was so pissed off at myself — a broken mess crying this morning I vented on Facebook about it. I know. I know. We’re only suppose to post rainbows and butterflies on Facebook. Another thing I failed at, I reckon.
I furiously typed on my keyboard as I was lamenting about how I fucked up I used to be and how less – MUCH less – fucked up I am now and trying to repair broken relationships with my siblings and their children to be silenced with a big old hand in my face.
Facebook, honestly, is such a detriment to broken families — to be honest, I’m only “Facebook friends” with three of my sisters, a few cousins, and maybe throw in an uncle or aunt for good measure…so I tend to see passive-aggressive posts on other walls that may (probably) or may not (no, they are) directed my way or another sibling’s way. And I get fed the fuck up.
So I asked myself this morning, “What the fuck are you doing, Tammy? Is THIS worth your sanity? Your love? Your forgiveness?”
It’s certainly not worth my tears right now. Then I realized what I was really crying for wasn’t a broken relationship, but the relationship that WAS. The family I remember when I was six years old and in a child’s eye was perfect, although reality knew it was abysmal, at best.
I wasn’t really sad that I couldn’t mend a relationship with my sister and niece. I wasn’t really upset at their pride. I wasn’t really sad at their self-righteousness. I wasn’t really disheartened by their tacit consent of not delivering grace, but rather, I was sad at something I still craved for and never got when I was a child.
It’s this thin-line we still walk as adults when we have had dysfunctional childhoods — we still want validation from something that represented our youth. Today what I learned, I’m better off without it.
“But why were you crying, Tammy?”
Sure, I was crying for them…for our past relationship…for their inability to even acknowledge my words….but to acknowledge my words would also mean they would have to acknowledge their broken fissures.
That’s when I GOT IT (again).
It’s not about me, but about them and their personal spiritual strife. It’s a way to further perpetuate the self-victimization act that runs rampant in my family.
You know, the martyr syndrome.
Yes, the popular martyr syndrome.
I’m okay with that because I ended up with this thought after I vented on social media (bad, Tammy):
Did I just want to have a relationship with notably toxic people JUST TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM?
I had to really re-examine why I sought out forgiveness for the 1293829348239482th time….and I realized that’s all I was doing.
That’s ALL I was bloody doing.
Do I love them? That goes without saying, but it’s more like the same love I have for humanity. I acknowledged I don’t have this pulling desire to love them like I love my children, or the one sister I do have an okay relationship with. I didn’t have that same intrinsic love that I even have for people at my current place of worship.
Man, I was THIS close to put my love for myself on the line…just to have a relationship because we share the same lineage. Just because we share the same last name, doesn’t mean jack shit.
That’s a bit harsh and crude, but think of it in a way of broader terms.
The things we do to maintain a facade of ‘family’ just to maintain a faux-version of reality.
Broken relationships happen; it’s a part of life.
Many of those broken relationships can be – and will be – repaired, but some aren’t meant to be gorilla-glued back together.
I’ve fought HARD for the person I have grown into.
I’ve fought hard not to be bitter and angry anymore.
I’ve fought hard for my profound emotional depth.
I’ve fought hard for compassion and love.
I’ve fought hard for peace.
I’ve fought hard for my spiritual scars.
I’ve fought from a proverbial hell and have come back a strong warrior.
I can’t change people’s minds; that’s something I wrestle with daily. That said, I can change how I approach relationships and the term ‘family’ going forward.
I’m still on a self-discovery journey on absolving family relationships and reminded myself that family isn’t mutually exclusive with a similar blood line, but rather, family are those that I have in my life right now.
That’s my family.
The family that supports me.
The family that has extended grace.
The family that loves me.
The family that embraces me.
The family that hugs me.
The family that wipes the tears from my cheeks.
The family that holds my hand when I’m terrified.
The family that affirms me.
The family that just is as opposed to be just isn’t.
Saying good-bye to the deluded illusion of family, this family that share two different last names is hard, but I think it’s getting easier.
I may still cry in the future, but I know the tears will be short-lived and those memories will be replaced with beautiful, artistic, and bold memories of my family now.
This is my family:
Good-bye memories of old; thank-you for teaching me what I didn’t want for family in the future.