‘Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them.’

I have yet to meet someone that does not agree with that statement. I will however admit that not every family is the same. Some are better than others. Which one is yours??

Some people are very family oriented and some are not. This may vary depending on your cultural background, upbringing, and immediate surroundings among other factors of course. The key here is we are not all the same, therefore our opinions on the subject will differ. And it is ok to see things and believe in things differently.

Having said that, on a general note, having a family is something you need in your life. No one can say I don’t need ‘family’. If you do end up saying that one day, it’s not because you really mean it, it’s because you are having serious problems with your own family and you feel it might be better without them at times. What would make anyone say such a thing otherwise. You just can’t find peace with them. They are driving you crazy and you have hit your head against the wall a thousand times and nothing changes. Except your head of course.

Normally, it would take a lot of suffering for one to want nothing to do with his or her family. Maybe your family is so dysfunctional that you can’t handle being around them. Maybe your family is bringing you down instead of uplifting your spirits. Maybe they are not as educated as you have become and therefore you see a huge difference in the lifestyle they live versus the lifestyle you want to live. And you feel they will never move forward. Maybe they are controlling your every action and meddling in every decision. Maybe they are standing in the way of your happiness without seeing it. Maybe you grew up in a different country than them, therefore you changed as you adapted to your new environment whilst they are still stuck in theirs. And so you battle your views of what is appropriate, what is acceptable; then it leads to the forbidden and the threats of disowning you if you don’t obey. Maybe your family is just one of those where each is in their own world, no one cares about the other, do whatever you want with no guidance or direction. Possibly even no signs of love being shown or care if you disappear for days. It feels like there is no difference whether they were in your life or not.

Hence, there are various types of families, some have stronger bonds than others. Each one of us will have a different type. We grew up in it, we depended on it, it taught us the basics which we nourished as we matured, grew older and moved on with our lives. In some cases we may have to unlearn what our family taught us. Some principles are just black or white. And you may have to correct your family on some beliefs. Even though they are older and supposedly know better than you but in certain subjects, you have to make a stand and oppose them. You may not be able to change them, but you also cannot follow them or agree. You try to live with them in peace, but they just won’t let it go. They have to have their way. You must obey them or else. You are wrong and they are right as far as they are concerned. And there is the dilemma.

It’s a fine line you walk on when you are in disagreement with your family; especially your parents. You have to maintain respect at all times. You have to hold your temper when they start insulting you. You have to find a lot of patience to handle this. And it is tough. Very tough. It becomes a war at times, each wanting to prove that they are right. When really it has nothing to do with being right. It simply is that parents love their children. They want what’s best for them. Some have a hard time letting go of the idea that you are a child and they have to protect you. And some are so controlling that they just can’t let you live your life your own way. And all you ever wanted is for them to love you unconditionally, to show you respect, to treat you like an adult, to trust in you and in their upbringing to you and to just give you the chance to live your life and make your own mistakes. You want the same opportunity they got when they were younger. You are ready to face the world and whatever it brings your way. But they just won’t give you any of that. So what do you do now?

Do you then go on making your own family and letting go of yours. Is that the right approach? Is that the solution; if you can’t fix it then just walk away? How long do you keep on investing your emotions and energy in trying to make your family understand you and respect you. Will they ever do? When does it become enough is enough? When do you stand up and say: I love you and I need you but I just can’t live according to what you want only. Will they even understand your plea of desperation? Some may wake up and try to work with you and some won’t budge no matter what you say or do. In a battle, there is always a loser, and even the winner will lose too.

Family; can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.


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