On January 14, 2012 I was disowned by my oldest sister and her family. It hurt.
However, truth be told, it was also a relief. I love my oldest sister and I cry for the lost relationship and what it could have or maybe should have been.
It's interesting as while I mourn this dysfunctional relationship I am also wallowing in guilt for feeling
relief. Yes, I said it. There is a part of me that feels relief.
What kind of a decent human being feels relieved to be estranged from a loved one? That isn't right.
Aren't we supposed to love our family unconditionally? Isn't that what society tells us?
This is where these toxic relationships can deeply affect our own lives and families. Our fight to do what we are told is the right thing while dishonouring our own families can now spawn more dysfunction.
Listen, I have spent the last three decades of my life trying to create a happy and functional family. You know that isn't easy. Do I really want to compromise that for a relationship that I absolutely cannot help or change?
It seems to me that throughout our lives, as we grow and change we can continue to cling to or feel
obligated to maintain the same relationships with our extended family. In the best case scenario, we
had such a great childhood that we don't want to let go. But sadly, many of us want to stick with it in hopes that we can fix it.
While we are grasping onto old family stories, our own story is changing. We add to our repertoire of loved ones with spouses, children, in-laws and friends. Our circle becomes bigger and harder to maintain. Yet, we think we can maintain it all.
As I grow older I have come to realize that I can't do it all without compromising my own values. I'm a true "mama bear" when it comes to my sons (their own emerging families) and my husband. They are everything to me. I know I can't protect them from everything, but I will do what is in my realm of control to maintain our happiness and well being as an extending family. That includes letting go of old, stressful, dysfunctional relationships that I have NO POSSIBLE WAY of changing. Believe me I have tried. All that has ever done is deplete me as a wife and mother.
I think of my oldest sister with love and true sympathy for her plight in life. You see, she has never been able to move past her childhood story. She has been stuck there allowing it to define her and effect her own life.
I however have found the audacity to move on. How dare I?