Fair warning: this is not a popular topic, especially among parents. If you get ruffled or become insecure easily, stop reading now (and maybe this isn’t the best blog for you, either).
Blood is thicker than water. Family is forever. Forgive and forget. Turn the other cheek. Be the bigger person. I could go on, but I won’t. Instead, I call bullshit. Having contact with another human being regardless of family connection, friendship, or history, is a privilege not a right.
This gets every parents’ panties in a bunch. “But these are my children!” “My children should love me unconditionally.” “But this is my mother/father/sibling/long-lost Aunt. I have to let certain things slide.” I contend that this notion is false. So many readers and clients tell me that they treated their spouse as if they would always be there only to be surprised one day when they had had enough. Everyone has a breaking point.
I cannot tell you how many times I felt alone when thinking, “why is it always my job to be the bigger person?” I have had so many come to me since saying exactly that. Sometimes you get tired of being the bigger person and sometimes you run out of cheeks to turn (I mean, we only have 4 right?).
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves. ~ Victor Frankl
Your children will one day get this option. Whether it is as final as severing contact or simply establishing boundaries (which if you raised a healthy adult, they should). It would do every parent well to remember this. Never assume that because you are a parent/spouse/sibling/extended family member/long time friend/beloved cousin twice removed, that you automatically gain access. It may mean that they will put up with you longer, but it doesn’t give you immunity. Unless you are a Czar, you shouldn’t assume that simply being born gives you a power position. Positions and loyalty are earned. Assuming that being a parent automatically makes your bad behavior untouchable is like assuming you’re a proper lady for giving a handjob with your pinky raised….you’re still giving a handjob and you’re not fooling anyone.
Do not misunderstand, I believe in family. Family is by far the most important. But family comes in many forms and sometimes you have to protect family from family, or yourself from family.
Only you can decide who gets to be in your life and who doesn’t. You have a limited amount of time and energy to spend on this planet. Only you choose how and with whom you spend it. Further, only you decide the boundaries you put in place and the way you allow these people to treat you. Remember that this is the case for everyone in your life.