Letting Go of Relatives
I need you to understand that relatives are a group of people that were assigned to you when you entered into the world and enrolled in to the University of life. These were your first teachers, counselors, classmates, friends, frienemies, bullies, etc… And like the transition from grade school to middle then high school, you eventually fade away from your favorite teacher, you may have gotten bigger and badder than your bully, you and your “best friend” might not have so much in common anymore, your perception of life has completely changed. You’ve been through some shit and learned some shit. Things have changed. You’ve changed. And that’s ok.
I promise you that we get to choose our actual family. It’s not just a trite expression. The problem is in the labeling of it all. People get caught up on labels and it makes it hard for them to differentiate relatives from family. Life is nothing but a bunch of ideas, concepts and beliefs. Most of which come from our upbringing, our environment and our peers-which in the beginning- are our relatives. The word family in the dictionary means- a group of one or more parents and their children living together as a unit. It also means-all the descendants of a common ancestor and blood related. But the thing is, the idea of family vs. the meaning of relative is really just an idea and concept. Word-meanings change and evolve with time.
For example: The word awful use to mean worthy of awe.
Naughty, with one letter more than Naught, meant you had naught or nothing. Then it came to mean evil or immoral, and now it’s just badly behaved.
Words are just ideas and concepts-defined.
So let us then, re-define the word family.
Here’s an adaptation of Vanier Institute’s definition of family: a family consists of any combination of two or more people, bound together over time, by ties of mutual consent and/or birth, adoption or placement, and who take responsibility for various activities of daily living, including love.
That works for me.
Don’t feel bad for letting go. It’s a part of life and more common than anyone talks about.
If you feel bad for letting go of your parents, check this out.
Man what a tough scene.
Dealing with dysfunction in the black families from generational trauma is definitely a conversation for another day. And trust me, I will talk about it in another piece, but for now, lets focus on what he said about his duties as a man and a parent.
Becoming a parent is a major responsibility, and the crazy thing is, you get to choose whether to be a responsible parent or not. The bare minimum is to provide food and shelter. Not even a safe environment or healthy food. Just food and shelter. Pretty much whatever keeps the child alive and moving on. A lot of people become parents irresponsibly and don’t have the necessary tools needed to continue and/or to complete the job effectively.
Trust me I know.
I’m a single parent of one, and it didn’t take me long to realize that I’d been living irresponsibly before my child was born, and wasn’t equipped with the right tools to guide him successfully into adulthood. But it’s my duty to figure it out. For me personally, I want to give more than the bare minimum. I also don’t want to just be his “relative”. I want to be one of his best friends and continue to be his family for life. I love him, I like him, and I’m always curious about him. I work hard to know and understand him-like most people do in the relationships that they want to keep and continue to grow. But that’s my own personal decision. I don’t think he owes me anything because it wasn’t his decision to be born. It was my actions and then my decision to nurture a life.
I say that to say, I don’t think anyone owe their parents their allegiance, their time, their space, their energy or any filial obligation after they’ve reached adulthood, if they don’t like their parent’s or do not have a close bond with them. I also feel like a parent can completely cut ties from their children after they’ve completed their parental stages of adolescence if they feel they’ve concluded their duties to the best of their abilities and have no familial bonds to their child or children. It’s more damaging to prolong toxic relationships in my opinion.
The conclusion is this:
You cannot heal in the place that causes you pain.
Just let go.
When Adult Children Divorce Their Parents
Why Kids Don’t Owe Anything To Their Parents
6 Reasons The Family You Choose Is More Important Than The One You’re Born Into
Toxic Family Members: How To Cope After Cutting Them Off
10 Ways to Cope With Sibling Estrangement
When and How to Cut the Ties of Bad Family Relationships