November 14, 2007

On the True Meaning of Family

I always thought of the word "family" as etched in stone. The old saying, "blood is thicker than water" I had heard many times and I believed it was true. It wasn't until later in life that I started to question this.
Sometimes, our family members can hurt us beyond belief and it can often seem as though strangers are more apt to be kind and loving toward us than our own flesh and blood. The words of Jesus come to mind, "A man's enemies will be those of his own household". Why should this be? Remember the story of Cane and Abel? With these brothers, jealousy led to outright murder. In a productive and fruitful family unit there must be love, compassion, and a mutual respect for one another.
A true family is not one in which the members will only come to you when they need something from you. This would be called a dysfunctional family. What about the story of Joseph and his brothers? You know.... the brothers who sold him into slavery because they envied him; his coat of many colors; and his dreams?
Just because you have a brother or sister doesn't mean they are necessarily looking out for your best interests. A friend that you meet along the path of life can bond with you and love you more than a blood relative ever could. When you are raised in a dysfunctional family it seems that every member is out for themselves. This is sad and if you happen to be going through the heartache this brings, just know that you are not alone. I know how painful this can be. I have had to sever ties with toxic family members. Was I right to go no contact with them? I'm not sure, but I only know that the alternative was killing me spiritually, emotionally, and physically. When you are in a catch 22, what can you do?
Toxic people leave us little choice. In this life, we will have to deal with those who for numerous reasons are just too lethal to mess with. It is then that you will have to make decisions based upon what you are able to endure. Don't feel guilty for severing ties with those who suck the life out of you and only use you for their own gain...even if they are family members.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting some of these about dealing with difficult people. I am married to a verbally abusive man who I believe is borderline narcissist - at least that is what the counselors say. But I feel like he is a narcissist according to the Bible. He recently has gotten on this bandwagon of not being able to "manufacture feelings" just in order to connect with me. Now I realize maybe that is because he is an empty soul (?) as you say. And I love what you say about not feeling bad about getting toxic people out of your life. I felt so trapped up until today that God wouldn't want me to divorce this guy...and that I should hang in there and keep hoping he will change. He makes attempts, but continually falls back into the same pattern. It is an emotional roller coaster for me and I am done with it. I know now that God is calling me to get out of this guy's path, to separate and let God take care of him. I am not nervous or anxious yet - but feel certain that God is calling me to do this. Thank you again for the virtual encouragement!